Kristin Luker

Kristin Luker is a professor of sociology and a professor in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at the Boalt Hall School of Law, at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also been a professor at Princeton University and the University of California, San Diego. She has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is the author of three books about the legal and social aspects of abortion and teenage pregnancy. She has a Ph.D in sociology from Yale.

Her book Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The book contrasts the worldviews of pro-choice and pro-life activists, arguing that the two sides of the debate on abortion are rooted in different sets of values and ideas about women's roles. The book also explores the historical connection between the rise of both pro-life and pro-choice sentiments, and the desire on the part of physicians to professionalize their image. She is careful in the book not to reveal her personal position on abortion, but her 1992 article "She's Come To You For An Abortion" in Harper's Magazine reveals that she is pro-choice.

In her book Dubious Conceptions, Luker discusses the evolution of public perceptions about teenage pregnancy during the twentieth century, and argues that teenage pregnancy should be recognized not as a distinct social problem, but as a symptom of the need for better approaches to poverty.


  • Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept (University of California Press, 1975) (ISBN 0-520-02872-4)
  • Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (University of California Press, 1984) (ISBN 0-520-05597-7)
  • Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of the Teenage Pregnancy Crisis (Harvard University Press, 1996) (ISBN 0-674-21703-9)
  • When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex—and Sex Education—Since the Sixties (W. W. Norton & Company, 2006) (ISBN 978-0-393-34996-4)

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