Birth Strike Book

Out now from PM Press.

“Jenny Brown compellingly explains the low U.S. birthrate: those primarily responsible for the labor of bearing and raising children (women) are responding as one should to lousy working conditions — by going on strike! Brown’s bold and brilliant book ventures into terrain that left and feminist thinkers have avoided for far too long. A breathtakingly accessible analysis, supported by riveting and intimate testimonials, it’s also an inspiring call to action.”—Liza Featherstone, The Nation

“Birth Strike is a well-researched and wide-ranging analysis of how the public responsibilities of pregnancy and parenting have been privatized to benefit a capitalist for-profit system designed to minimize labor costs to produce wealth for the few. Offers fresh insight into how women’s biological power may be harnessed to resist reproductive oppression.”—Loretta J. Ross, author, Reproductive Justice: An Introduction and editor, Radical Reproductive Justice.

“An audacious analysis of the falling U.S. birth rate; of the exploitive, often untenable conditions for raising children here and now; and of what might be done to change things. Feminist insight illuminates every chapter of this thoughtful book.”—Alix Kates Shulman, author, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays: Four Decades of Feminist Writing.


“An astute analysis of power relations not only in the sphere of reproduction but also in the worlds of work, immigration, and government policy as they bear on women’s ability to control their bodies. She illuminates the historical context of the writings of Marx and Malthus, the crusades of Comstock, and recurring elite pleas for women to supply more workers and soldiers. Brown lays bare why U.S. women who want to be mothers, and those who don’t, have it far worse here than in Europe. Then she tells us how to change that.”—Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes.

“This book lays bare how U.S. politics around race and immigration are closely connected to the struggle for reproductive freedom, both in the past and today. You will never think about reproductive rights in the same way again.”—Ibram X. Kendi, author, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and director, Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.

“Jenny Brown reveals to us how and why reactionary ruling interests in the United States support heavy birth rates and oppose both abortion and birth control. Also given is a good report of various other countries and their prevailing interests. In all, an excellent read!”—Michael Parenti, author, The Culture Struggle, Democracy for the Few, Against Empire, and many others.

“Why are we still struggling for childcare and paid leave in the U.S.? Basic rights to birth control and abortion? In Birth Strike, Jenny Brown exposes the economic interests at play and shows the mighty power of women to change the game.”—Lise Vogel, author, Marxism and the Oppression of Women.

“Birth Strike is an important contribution to the subject of women and our reproductive rights. Unlike much of the literature on contraception and abortion, Jenny Brown situates her analysis within the larger economic context of both labor and human rights.”—Ti-Grace Atkinson, author, Amazon Odyssey, founder of The Feminists.

“A serious contribution to the debate around women’s reproductive labor and its vital place in women’s liberation. A must read for those seeking to understand and carry on the struggle.”—Carol Hanisch, author of the 1969 article “The Personal is Political.”

“Jenny Brown’s rational and forthright answer to what the abortion struggles are about will surprise American women on both sides of the issue. Hint: it’s not religion or politics.”—Peggy Dobbins, author, From Kin to Class, WITCH founder.

“Jenny Brown’s book Birth Strike is a game-changer and is equal in significance to Betty’s Friedan’s Feminine Mystique in the 1960’s, which sparked a movement.”—Carol Downer, Feminist Women’s Health Centers founder, and author, A Woman’s Book of Choices.

“Jenny Brown provides a compelling case that the battle over abortion and birth control is not just a religious or cultural difference of opinion. Rather, within these battles are deeper debates over the control of human labor. Capitalism cannot exist without labor, and employers have a strong interest in ensuring a steady supply. The more women can control their own bodies, the less power capitalists have over social reproduction. Filled with fascinating history and contemporary analysis, this book illuminates how women’s liberation is in fundamental conflict with capitalism. Read this book to learn how women must take their political struggle beyond what are often narrowly misunderstood as ‘women’s issues.’”—Stephanie Luce, Professor of Labor Studies and Sociology, City University of New York, author, Fighting for a Living Wage and Labor Movements: Global Perspectives.

“A few years ago, statisticians discovered that the birthrate … in the U.S. had hit an all-time low… In her provocative book Birth Strike … Brown jumps off from this evidence to discuss the history of birth control and right to secure a legal abortion in the face of the ruling class of men who traditionally have dictated the rules of women’s reproductive labor. This book is worth reading.”—Susan Brownmiller, author, In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution.