"A Miscarriage of Justice," Women’s Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil by Cassia Roth, Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, has won the 2021 Murdo J. MacLeod Book Prize, sponsored by the Southern Historical Association, Latin American and Caribbean Section.
A Miscarriage of Justice examines women's reproductive health in relation to legal and medical policy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the onset of republicanism in 1889, women's reproductive capabilities—their ability to conceive and raise future citizens and laborers—became critical to the expansion of the new Brazilian state. Analyzing court cases, law, medical writings, and health data, Cassia Roth argues that the state's approach to women's health in the early twentieth century focused on criminalizing fertility control without improving services or outcomes for women. Ultimately, the increasingly interventionist state fostered a culture of condemnation around poor women's reproduction that extended beyond elite discourses into the popular imagination.
Congratulations to Dr. Roth on this extraordinary career accomplishment. She spoke about the book for a Willson Center video series earlier in 2021,