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Reproductive Decision Making
Acting to Help Clients
Melissa M. Bell and Sherie L. Edenborn
ISBN: 978-0-87101-532-7. 2018. Item #5327. 156 pages.
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Earn 3.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.

Social work professionals are uniquely positioned to discuss reproductive decision making (RDM) with their clients. However, social workers often find it difficult to address topics such as family planning in their practice. This book is a brief guide providing RDM tools and strategies for busy social workers. Grounded in social cognitive theory and the theory of planned behavior, this book uses case examples based on real-world research and situations to connect readers with the material, emphasizing patient-centered approaches that prioritize client self-determination. By filling an important gap in available resources for practitioners, this book will improve social workers’ confidence in providing RDM guidance and advocacy.
About the Authors

Chapter 1: Reproductive Decision Making Is Important to Client Well-Being: A Call to Action

Chapter 2: A Strategy for Understanding Reproductive Decision Making

Chapter 3: Partnering with Clients in Reproductive Justice

Chapter 4: Reproductive Decision Making in a Post-truth World

Chapter 5: The Stork Is Irrelevant: Fact and Fiction in Family Planning and Reproductive Biology

Chapter 6: Putting It All Together: What to Say and How to Say It

Appendix: Tools
Melissa M. Bell, PhD, LSW, is an associate professor and the social work program director at Chatham University, Pittsburgh. She holds a doctorate in social work and a PhD certificate in the study of women, gender, and sexuality from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania with 10 years of post-MSW experience in psychiatric social work. On completion of her undergraduate degree in psychology, with a minor in women’s studies, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Bell attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning an MSW with a concentration in direct practice mental health. She then completed a 12-month postgraduate fellowship at Yale University in intensive clinical services. Her research focuses on family planning, the influence of politics and religion on social work practice, and emotion dysregulation in psychiatric treatment. Bell has participated in legislative action focusing on the assurance of access to emergency contraception in Pennsylvania hospital emergency rooms for survivors of sexual assault. Her research has appeared in Social Work in Public Health, Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, Social Work in Health Care, and Social Work Education: The International Journal. She has presented at several national conferences and is a content advisor on gender issues for the documentary film Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home.

Sherie L. Edenborn, PhD, MT (ASCP), is an associate professor at Chatham University, Pittsburgh. She holds a doctorate in plant and soil science/environmental microbiology from West Virginia University, Morgantown. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in biology and medical technology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and is certified as a medical technologist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Her research interests are interdisciplinary, including teaching biology to students in the social sciences. Edenborn regularly presents at the annual meetings of the Council on Social Work Education and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors and has written a paper about innovative pedagogy with Bell for the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work. Her teaching agenda focuses on helping students find, evaluate, and understand empirical evidence and developing accessible and engaging curricula.
Bell and Edenborn provide a toolkit for the busy social worker who feels unprepared to discuss family planning with clients. Theory-driven but eminently practical, this book explains the necessary biological and historical background and, based on case examples, shares strategies for raising the issues with clients. Social workers who wish to advance reproductive justice should read this book.

Joan C. Chrisler, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Connecticut College
Editor of Women’s Reproductive Health
Author of Reproductive Justice: A Global Concern


This book is user-friendly and an absolutely wonderful resource. It is easy to read, thorough, and encourages discussions around reproductive health issues, an enormously important issue that should be addressed regularly with social work clients. I recommend it without hesitation for all social workers.

Scott Migdole, MSW, LCSW
Assistant Clinical Professor (Social Work) of Psychiatry
Chief Operating Officer, Yale Behavioral Health & the Yale Program on Supervision
Yale University School of Medicine


This book not only provides a rationale for why reproductive health discussions matter and the factors that shape RDM, but offers concrete strategies and tools for social workers to approach the topic area with their clients. I especially love the case examples, which really highlight the complexity of women’s social and structural realities and the need to address reproductive goals and preferences in context.

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS
Director, Center for Women’s Health Research and Innovation,
University of Pittsburgh
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Earn 3.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.