In An Open Secret, historian Natalie Kimball “wrestles with an uncomfortable and slippery notion—that of unwanted pregnancy (embarazo no deseado)” (p. 113). The book's thesis—that the material and affective conditions that lead a person to regard their pregnancy as unwanted often elude conventional categorization—destabilizes several assumptions around reproductive behavior in urban Bolivia between 1952 and 2010. Kimball's oral histories with El Alto and La Paz residents in the early 2000s demonstrate how few women reflect on their pregnancies in such circumscribed terms. The causes of reproductive behavior are quickly revealed as too nuanced for frameworks of choice and rights as well as some of the structural observations on which feminist scholars have typically relied. Rather, in Bolivia, where abortion remains almost completely illegal, bearing a child is tied as closely to interpersonal and financial networks as to legal and...
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Book Review| May 01 2021
An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia
An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia. By Kimball, Natalie L.
New Brunswick, NJ:
Rutgers University Press,
2020. . xiv, 351 pp. Paper, $42.95.
Hispanic American Historical Review (2021) 101 (2): 357–359.
Emilie Egger; An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 May 2021; 101 (2): 357–359. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-8897958
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