New book by Rebecca Todd Peters explores women’s reproductive rights
“Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice” was published April 10 by Beacon Press.
In her third book, “Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice,” Rebecca Todd Peters, professor of religious studies and director of Elon’s Poverty and Social Justice program, writes about the difficult and complicated issues surrounding abortion and other reproductive rights questions in modern society.
“The starting point of our ethical conversation should be women’s lives,” writes Peters, yet “the problem that we face in this country is our failure to trust women to act as rational, capable, responsible moral agents.”
Peters is an ordained Presbyterian minister and has been active denominationally and ecumenically for more than 25 years. She chaired the Presbyterian Church (USA) task force on Just Globalization and represents the PCUSA as a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.
Peters writes that society’s default expectation is for women to bear children if they get pregnant, and they must “justify their moral decision” to do otherwise. “Trust Women” interweaves political analysis, sociology, ancient and modern philosophy, Christian tradition, and medical history, and grounds its analysis in the reality of women’s lives and their decisions about sexuality, abortion and child-bearing.
Peters’ book is published by Beacon Press and publisher Amy Caldwell says the work “highlights Beacon’s strong commitment to justice, to women’s voices and concerns, to moral and political thinking based on who is actually helped and who is hurt.”
In an advance review, Publisher’s Weekly called the book “theologically astute” and said it “could easily become part of the required reading for an array of university courses.” A starred review in Literary Journal says the book is a “valuable read for anyone who questions the pronatalism and misogyny that constrains reproductive decision-making in the United States.”
Peters began her career at Elon in 2001 as the Distinguished Emerging Scholar of Religious Studies and received the university’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2012. She received the Trinity Prize for her first book, “In Search of the Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization,” which was lauded by renowned philosopher and critic Cornel West as “the best treatment of the complex debate on globalization by a religious ethicist now available.” She has edited books on Christianity and social justice from a feminist perspective and published articles on sexuality and post-colonial issues. Peters also has served as chair of the Southeast Commission on the Study of Religion and as president of the American Academy of Religion, Southeast Region.