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Undue Burden by Shefali Luthra
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Undue Burden

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Undue Burden by Shefali Luthra
Hardcover $29.00
May 21, 2024 | ISBN 9780385550086

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    May 21, 2024 | ISBN 9780385550086

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  • May 21, 2024 | ISBN 9780593865484

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“Indispensable… An impeccably researched, clearheaded and frankly terrifying assessment of just how grave the situation in post-Roe America is… Whatever your gender, race, religious background or political preferences, Luthra’s Undue Burden should be on your required reading list.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“A superbly reported account… Undue Burden focuses on the stories of those who are attempting to navigate an unraveling healthcare system while pregnant. Luthra brings their voices to life, and she locates her subjects in their larger contexts—socioeconomic, political, religious, historical—thereby exposing how abortion bans disproportionately harm the most vulnerable…The stakes could not be higher… Undue Burden provide[s] a preview of a nationwide catastrophe that we still have the opportunity, one can hope, to prevent.”
—Washington Post

“Luthra calls the end of Roe a ‘public health crisis,’ and it is one… She also effectively uses public health data to highlight disproportionate racial impacts of abortion bans… But it is when discussing abortion as a human right that Luthra makes her most powerful points: about the limitations of Roe, which was ‘never enough to ensure that everyone could easily, safely access legal abortions’; the injustices of legislation like the 1977 Hyde Amendment, under which no federal health insurance dollars can be used to pay for abortions; and the vulnerable and marginalized individuals in this country who have always been left behind, or left out entirely, in conversations about ‘choice…’ Luthra rightly criticizes a tendency in the national debate ‘to speak about abortion in only the starkest terms…’ In Undue Burden, she resists such simplistic storytelling.”
—New York Review of Books

“Shefali Luthra places at the center of this urgent volume the people whose lives, bodies, families, and ability to provide care have been wholly remade by Dobbs, insisting that the stories of human suffering cannot be sidelined as some niche politicized concern. An absolute must-read—tell your friends; buy it for your family; sit with it on your own. This is storytelling we need.”
Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad and All the Single Ladies

“Moving and deeply informative in highlighting the ways in which access to abortion is a basic human right, Undue Burden focuses on the consequences of limiting access to reproductive justice. The fall of Roe is a public health crisis with an impact we are still struggling to grasp.  Shefali Luthra humanizes those burdened by the changes in the law while making excellent points about the shortsightedness of lawmakers pandering to the mob who want to control instead of serve their constituents who actually need access to reproductive care. As an indictment of our societal failure to protect the lives and liberty of those with uteruses, Undue Burden does the heavy lifting of research so that even the most apolitical reader can understand the risks to us all.” 
Mikki Kendall, New York Times bestselling author of Hood Feminism

Undue Burden reframes the battle over abortion to a national human rights crisis that threatens everyone’s welfare and freedom instead of a niche cultural issue. By telling the gripping stories of pregnant people desperately seeking abortions across the country and the advocates who courageously fight for expanded access to care, Shefali Luthra makes plain Dobbs’s devastating repercussions for our health, autonomy, and equality—and highlights the potential for change. Undue Burden is a compelling, urgent call for reproductive justice.”
Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body

“For decades, access to abortion has been our nation’s most vigorously attacked human right—a battle that Shefali Luthra has chroncled with a rigor and an empathy matched by few others. In the pages of Undue Burden, Luthra explores the war on abortion rights through the stories of the real people whose rights are threatened and lives forever altered by the powerful political movement that has spent decades working to overturn the right to terminate a pregnancy. The history told within these pages is sweeping, the characters moving, and the message urgent. This is a book that meets our moment, painting a portrait that vividly underscores the stakes of our times.”
Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of American Whitelash

Undue Burden reveals the deeply human and devastating reality of the post-Roe world—it is the urgent reminder we all need that abortion is a human right.”
Anne Helen Petersen, author of Out of Office and Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

“Shefali Luthra has told the story of post-Roe America in the way it needs to be told—with a compelling, unflinching and deeply human look at the lives it has turned upside down. This gripping portrait is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand how much reproductive rights matter—and what happens to everyday Americans when those rights go away.”
Jonathan Cohn, author of Sick and The Ten Year War

“This is a very important book and should be required reading for everyone interested in civil rights and gender equality in the health sector and beyond.”
—New York Journal of Books

“Packed with recent on-the-ground reporting… Shefali Luthra sympathetically documents the harrowing human consequences of curtailing the right to abortion.”
Financial Times

“A poignant and dramatic look at the stakes of losing Roe and a compassionate assessment of the human toll wrought by Dobbs.
—Ms. Magazine

“An eye-opening and chilling look at the strain the U.S. reproductive healthcare system is undergoing in a post-Roe world… The story of Angela, a 21-year-old San Antonio mother who can’t afford another child and makes an expensive trip to New Mexico for a dose of the abortifacient mifepristone, is juxtaposed with the plight of Jasper, a trans man who struggles to access abortion care because his local clinic in Orlando, Fla., has been overwhelmed by out-of-state patients. The healthcare providers themselves paint a dire portrait of a system in crisis (“It’s an unfolding national disaster,” says one)…Luthra’s vivid and compassionate storytelling unveils an interconnected web of desperate individuals and heroic helpers who are only just barely within reach. It’s an urgent wake-up call.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Vivid portrayals of lives disrupted and freedom denied.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“In her empathetic book, Luthra capably zooms in on private stories and zooms out on the laws that have irrevocably changed lives, proving the feminist adage: The personal is political. Undue Burden is a rigorous and compelling condemnation of the unnecessary pain and sorrow Dobbs left in its wake.”
—BookPage (starred)

“Luthra’s well-researched, compelling book will appeal to anyone who is interested in the human cost of reproductive rights in America.”

Table Of Contents



Part I: Tiffany
Chapter 1: Where It Started, Where It Ends — TEXAS
Chapter 2: “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard” — OKLAHOMA

Part II: Angela
Chapter 3: Not Strong Enough — NEW MEXICO AND ILLINOIS
Chapter 4: A Haven, for Now — KANSAS

Part III: Darlene
Chapter 5: The Promised Oasis — CALIFORNIA
Chapter 6: Just Because It’s Legal — COLORADO
Chapter 7: Even the Best-Laid Plans — NEW YORK

Part IV: Jasper
Chapter 8: The Center That Couldn’t Hold — FLORIDA
Chapter 9: Neither Living nor Dead — ARIZONA
Chapter 10: How Far Will This Go? — WASHINGTON, D.C.

Epilogue: The World After Dobbs — TEXAS

Sourcing Note 

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