I am a professor of sociology at Fordham, a Catholic university. I also am president of the board of directors for National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), a non-profit organization devoted to reproductive justice using strategies of national and community organizing, public education, and legal advocacy.
I am equally proud of both affiliations. Teaching at a Catholic institution, I encounter many students who oppose abortion. Fordham is a university in the Jesuit tradition, and as such, emphasizes progressive ideals such as social justice, a preferential option for the poor, and respect for the dignity of the whole person, all of which are very much consistent with the values of NAPW.
Working in these two settings, I have become acutely aware of the divisiveness of the rhetoric defining much of the abortion debate. The rhetoric obscures the reality that most women who have abortions are—or go on to become—mothers. Many people concerned about the health and well-being of pregnant women do not speak to one another, much less work together on shared concerns.
There is a lack of awareness that efforts to legally separate the fetus from the pregnant woman have consequences not only for women who seek to terminate a pregnancy,
but also for many women who continue their pregnancies to term.
Jeanne Flavin is an associate professor of Sociology at Fordham University. Her scholarship and advocacy mainly examines the impact of the criminal justice system on women. She is author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: Policing Women's Reproduction in America (NYU 2009), co-author of Class, Race, Gender & Crime, 2nd ed. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007) and co-editor of Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror (Rutgers, 2007) as well as many articles. She also is 2008-09 Fulbright Award recipient to study gender, family and crime in South Africa.