Post-Roe reads

This month's Recommended Reads list features books about reproductive rights and freedom, abortion, parenthood, pregnancy, and beyond.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, we present to you a compilation of fiction and non-fiction titles which explore, illuminate, and educate on the subjects of reproductive freedom, abortion, parenthood, pregnancy, and beyond.   

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Chelsea Wood

Senior Reader Advisor

Perkins Library

Back Rooms: Voices from the Illegal Abortion Era

by Ellen Messer

DB 31578, Available as BARD Download

The experiences of women and a few men who were involved in unwanted pregnancies before the 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision by the Supreme Court made abortion legal. Those who had illegal abortions, who married “hurriedly,” who gave up a child for adoption, and those who raised a child alone tell their stories. Doctors and abortion activists also speak. 1988.

Download Back Rooms, DB 31578

Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women

by Lyz Lenz

DB 100890, Available as BARD Download

A journalist examines the misogynistic logic of many American cultural narratives surrounding pregnancy and reflects on her own experiences with pregnancy. 2020.

Download Belabored, DB 100890

The Cider House Rules

by John Irving

DB 21531, BR 6178, LT 489, DB available as BARD Download

Set in rural Maine at the turn of the century, this is the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch, saint, obstetrician, orphanage director, ether addict, and abortionist. His medical practices are hindered and abetted by his favorite orphan, Homer Wells. The novel is based on documents left by the author’s physician grandfather. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 1985..

Download The Cider House Rules, DB 21531

The Family Roe: An American Story

by Joshua Prager

DB 105723, Available as BARD Download

The author of Echoing Green (DB 64393) provides a detailed account of the famous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case. Covering fifty years of history, the author profiles the key players, recounts both the trial and surrounding events, the subsequent trajectory of the “Roe” family, and more. 2021.

Download The Family Roe, DB 105723

The Farm

by Joanne Ramos

DB 95057, Available as BARD Download

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, was searching for a better future when she committed to being a surrogate mother. The arrangement requires that she stay on the Farm, a retreat in the Hudson Valley where all her needs are met—and her every move is monitored. 2019.

Download The Farm, DB 95057  

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights

by Karen Blumenthal

DB 98618, Available as BARD Download

Award-winning author traces the path to the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade and examines the root causes of the current debate around abortion. For senior high and older readers. 2020.

Download Jane Against the World, DB 98618

The Kindest Lie

by Nancy Johnson

DB 102560, BR 23701, Available as BARD Download

Needing to reconnect with the baby she gave up for adoption years earlier, an Ivy League-educated African American engineer uncovers devastating family secrets before her bond with a young white misfit scandalizes her racially torn community. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2021.

Download The Kindest Lie, DB 102560

Download Braille, The Kindest Lie, BR 23701

A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

by Peter Ho Davies

DB 102435, Available as BARD Download

A writer struggles after he and his wife make a decision to terminate a pregnancy when they discover there would be serious birth defects. That decision reverberates through the years, especially when their next pregnancy also involves a difficult birth and possible developmental issues with their child. 2021.

Download A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself, DB 102435

Loved and Wanted: A Memoir of Choice, Children, and Womanhood

by Christa Parravani

DB 101610, Available as BARD Download

The author recounts the struggles she faced attempting to access reproductive rights, the consequences of those barriers, and the inadequate healthcare that endangered all three of her children. She discusses the difficult choices faced by American women fighting for agency over their bodies, futures, and children’s lives. 2020.

Download Loved and Wanted, DB 101610

Mercy Street

by Jennifer Haigh

DB 107249, LT 30953, Available as BARD Download

Claudia is a counselor at Mercy Street, a women’s clinic. She knows her work is important, but she is stressed by the daily antiabortion protests. Her stress relief comes from visits to her pot dealer, Timmy. Another of Timmy’s customers is Anthony, who has been taking pictures of women entering Mercy Street. 2022.

Download Mercy Street, DB 107249 

The Mothers

by Brit Bennett

DB 86020, LT 21126, Available as BARD Download

In a contemporary black community, 17-year-old Nadia Turner mourns the suicide of her mother, leading her to take up with the local’s pastor’s son; but when she gets pregnant, the pregnancy and the subsequent cover-up will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth.

Download The Mothers, DB 86020

My Notorious Life

by Kate Manning

DB 77911, Available as BARD Download

New York City, 1860. Twelve-year-old Axie Muldoon comes to the attention of the Children’s Aid Society. Sent west with her siblings on the orphan train, Axie is apprenticed to a doctor. She grows up to become a medical specialist in women’s concerns—but is on the run from the law. 2013.

Download My Notorious Life, DB 77911

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights

by Katha Pollitt

DB 80082, Available as BARD download

Author of Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism (DB 41125) argues that abortion should be a moral right with positive social implications. Supports expansive and fair-minded discussion of this issue, which, many years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, remains deeply polarizing. 2014.

Download Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, DB 80082

Red Clocks

by Leni Zumas

DB 90345, BR 22215, LT 23712, Available as BARD Download

In a small Oregon fishing town in a near-future America, five women navigate new barriers surrounding sexual and reproductive rights. They face single motherhood, crumbling marriages, teenage pregnancy, modern-day witch hunts, and more. 2018.

Download Red Clocks, DB 90345

Download Braille, Red Clocks, BR 22215

Reproductive Rights: Who Decides?

by Vicki O. Wittenstein

DB 84587, Available as BARD Download

Overview of the history of disputes over human reproduction practices, including contraception, sex education, and abortion. Highlights notable individuals such as Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett, who were demonized for their advocacy of women’s rights to have access to birth control. For junior and senior high and older readers. 2016.

Download Reproductive Rights: Who Decides?, DB 84587

Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America

by Ellen Chesler

DB 35568, Available as BARD Download

Biography of the founder of Planned Parenthood. Conflicting images portray Margaret Sanger as a woman who fights passionately for women’s rights while preferring male company, and a caring mother who abandons her children. This rebellious pioneer, arrested in 1916 for opening a birth control clinic, spent the next half-century crusading for access to contraception.

Download Woman of Valor, DB 35568


Womanhood and Motherhood


Women’s Work


Contemporary Massachusetts Authors