Bodies Under Siege: How the Far-Right Attack on Reproductive Rights Went Global (Hardcover)
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An exposé of how far-right extremists across Europe use attacks on abortion to introduce broader fascist politics–and their connections to the American far right, from a leading investigative journalist
Think today's anti-abortion ideas are rooted in religious prohibitions or arguments about where life begins? Wrong: today's anti-abortion movement is largely financed and planned by far-right extremists. Many of them are avowedly fascist and white supremacist, afraid of a "great replacement" of the world's white population by other races, who are working hard to reshape governments and policies across Europe, North America and around the world. Much of this far-right organizing and funding network, however, has been overlooked by today's feminist and left movements.
As investigative journalist Sian Norris uncovers here, it is through attacking abortion rights that fascist ideas from the dark web, incel chat boards, and fringe organizations comes to enter mainstream debate -- and to then shape governmental policy across Europe, from authoritarian regimes like Hungary's to liberal democracies like Britain. As Norris goes undercover at anti-abortion activist meetings, and pieces together the money trail linking American think tanks to far-right fascist groups, she maps out the pipeline by which fascism has become respectable across the Global North by taking away women's reproductive rights and autonomy.
About the Author
Sian Norris is a writer and investigative journalist who has covered far-right movements and their relocation to the mainstream for a range of publications, including the UK’s Byline Times and openDemocracy. Norris is a leading voice in the UK feminist movement and her writing on issues ranging from men's violence against women, to migrant rights, and poverty and inequality, has been published in the Guardian, New Statesman, the i, and many more publications. In 2012 she set up the Bristol Women's Literature Festival, which she ran for eight years.
"When it comes to the critical issues shaping our society, there are journalists who try to observe and analyse from on high – and then there are journalists like Sian Norris, who throw themselves headfirst into the messy tangle of people, places and politics that matter, and do so with passion and bite. Norris is not a passive stenographer, she’s a fighter for a better world and her work might just help us win one."
—Jack Schenker, author of The Egyptians and Now We Have Your Attention
"A vital and sobering book. Sian Norris's reporting on reproductive rights has long been prescient, dogged, and courageous -- and in this book she gives us an unflinching portrait of quite how much women stand to lose. Her account of how abortion is positioned in our contemporary moment -- by misogyny, white supremacy, and authoritarianism -- is necessary reading."
—Katherine Angel, author of Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again
"Attacks on abortion rights are not only assaults on women's freedom to live and love as they choose, most successfully targeting black and ethnic minority women, but they are today a key plank of the far right's drive for power. Providing a splendid call to arms, in these pages Sia^n Norris shows why the struggle to preserve women's reproductive and sexual freedoms is now fundamental to the defeat of fascistic forces globally, as well as the foundation for any fairer, progressive future for all of us."
—Lynne Segal author of Lean on Me
"An incisive account of the relationship between white supremacist ideology and the attack on abortion rights. The significance, necessity, and timeliness of this book is, unfortunately, all too apparent."
—Helen Hester, co-author of After Work
"A groundbreaking and definitive study of far-right misogyny and how to fight it. Norris traces the networks that are pushing bigotry into the heads of young men across the world and shows how they interact with the "respectable" right."
—Paul Mason, author of How to Stop Fascism
"Reminds us that once won, rights - all rights - have to be constantly defended. This excellent book may help do that."
—Vanessa Baird, New Internationalist
"Essential reading on what has become - yet again - one of the most important battles of our times. Sian Norris is an illuminating and passionate guide to the war on women's bodies and rights - there is so much here I didn't know, and to have it all set down so lucidly makes this book as invaluable as it is engrossing."
"A thorough, alarmed delineation of threats to abortion rights around the world."
"An effective clarion call against complacency."
—Mia Levitin, Sunday Times