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The Baby and the Bathwater

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The circumstances that gave rise to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, to establish physicians’ right to counsel the possibility of medical abortion, are not easy to recall.  There was so much turmoil on the surface of things fifty years ago – Vietnam, Watergate, Richard Nixon’s landslide re-election. In retrospect, one skein of developments stands out as more momentous than the rest:  the rapidly changing opportunities available to American women. For that reason, there is no better place to start than Claudia Goldin’s Career and Family: Women’s Century-long Journey toward Equity (Princeton, 2021).  A distinguished economic historian,