Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a senior correspondent at The American Prospect. She is also the author of Kingdom Coming and The Means of Reproduction.

Recent Articles

Weighing the Consequences of Political Rhetoric

The alleged shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords may have been mentally ill, but his hallucinatory fantasy world was informed by the real one.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (AP Photo/Chris Morrison)
For the past two years, our political life has been charged with intimations of violence. Tea Party activists have brandished guns at meetings with elected officials. (In 2009, a protester dropped a firearm at one of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Safeway meet and greets.) Republican politicians have hinted at "Second Amendment solutions," in the words of Senate candidate Sharron Angle, to the intolerable tyranny of the Obama administration. Last summer, a conservative radio host told a Tea Party rally, "If ballots don’t work, bullets will." She was later hired as chief of staff for newly elected Congressman Allen West, though controversy soon forced her resignation. Giffords' Tea Party-backed opponent, Jesse Kelly, held a machine-gun-themed campaign event, whose invitation said, "Get On Target For Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly." Television hosts like Glenn Beck have been warning of the need for armed...

What the Pill Gave Birth To

The convergence of modern contraception and women's liberation was not intended or expected by the pill's inventors.

Loretta Lynn penned the 1975 anthem, "The Pill." (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation by Elaine Tyler May, Basic Books, 224 pages, $25.95 Elaine Tyler May's new book begins by quoting the lyrics to Loretta Lynn's 1975 anthem, "The Pill," an overburdened housewife's audacious cry of reproductive independence. "Promised me if I'd be your wife/ You'd show me the world/ But all I've seen of this old world/ Is a bed and a doctor bill," Lynn croons. "I'm tearin' down your brooder house/ 'Cause now I've got the pill." No feminist theorist could have better captured both the emancipatory power of the pill and the threat it posed to patriarchy. The pill wasn't just a medical breakthrough; it was part of a social revolution, one that was messy, incomplete, sometimes disappointing, but ultimately life-altering for millions of women. America and the Pill is a brief history of that revolution, timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the first birth-control pill...

The Feminist Case for Flawed Reform

The anti-abortion provisions of both the House and the Senate versions of health care are a serious setback for reproductive rights. We need to support it nonetheless.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In the final days of health-care reform, we're once again mired in a dispiriting debate about whether the legislation is sufficiently anti-abortion. The Senate health-care bill will allow states to ban insurance policies that include abortion from their insurance exchanges. In states where such policies are allowed, women will have to send a separate check for the portion of the plan that covers abortion, which very few are likely to do. Still, conservative Democrats in the House complain the legislation doesn't go far enough – they want plans that cover abortion removed from the exchanges altogether. It's become clear that if health-care reform passes, it's going to significantly erode, and probably end, insurance coverage for abortion. That makes it a serious step backward for reproductive rights. Feminists should support it anyway. The simple fact is that health-care reform, even with its awful provisions on abortion, will hugely improve the health of American women...

Radical Realism

Ellen Willis' cultural libertarianism allowed her to navigate the feminist sex wars of the 1980s with a grace and good sense that still stands up.

(Flickr/EJP Photo)
It rarely occurs to me anymore to pick up The Village Voice , but when I was growing up the paper had talismanic powers. I was stuck in a grim suburb, miserable and alienated in ways that were no less painful for being completely cliché; the Voice was my window into the scintillating downtown of my dreams, a promise of a future life worth living. (This was before the Internet made bohemia accessible to everyone.) My favorite writer was Ellen Willis, though I didn't know enough to understand how original she was. I just knew that everything she wrote made a powerful sort of sense and that she was who I wanted to be when I grew up. Willis, who died in 2006, should be a lot more famous than she is. The first rock critic at The New Yorker , she wrote with equal passion about politics, sex, and pop culture. As a strong, principled feminist who reveled in the often-sexist and satiric counterculture, she was always cognizant of the way our desires can detour from our political ideals...

A Pro-Life Death Sentence

The case of a pregnant Nicaraguan woman who has been denied treatment for cancer is yet another instance of how women's health is disregarded by anti-abortion advocates.

A young member of a feminist group protests in front of Nicaragua's Supreme Court in Managua. The banners reads in Spanish "Legalization Now." (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
In the Nicaraguan city of Leon, a 27-year-old, known only as Amalia, is being denied treatment for cancer because she's 10 weeks pregnant and chemotherapy would harm her fetus. Since 2006, abortion has been illegal in Nicaragua under all circumstances, even when a woman's life is at stake, so while Amalia is in the hospital, nothing is being done for her. Amalia's sister has gone public, desperately seeking to pressure the government to help keep Amalia, who has a 10-year-old daughter, alive. La Prensa , Nicaragua's main newspaper, quoted her sister making a public statement interrupted by sobs. "We are asking that my sister be given treatment, we are asking that you don't forget that my sister is a human being, we are asking that this treatment be immediate," she said, before being unable to continue. But so far, the Nicaraguan Medical Association, a government group, insists that doctors must "luchar por las dos vidas por igual," or fight for both lives equally. Amalia's life is...