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This chapter considers how a liminal lens help inform contemporary discussions surrounding embryos in vitro and beyond using three case studies: 1) the 14-day rule, 2) in vitro gametogenesis, and 3) ectogenesis. The first case study is important as it is the principal manifestation of law’s attempt to reflect ‘special status’ on the embryo, and because it is also an example of legal attempts to deal with embryonic processes. This example is used to examine what the context-based approach developed in this book could bring to contemporary debate about the nature of such a rule, as well as its retention, reduction, or extinction. The second example enables us to consider what the analysis offered in this book says about these relatively new technologies in relation to their regulation, and the key biological and legal thresholds involved. The final case study focuses specifically on partial ectogenesis, a technology which not only introduces new thresholds, but leads us to question our existing understanding of meaningful legal thresholds, most notably birth as the moment in which the foetus/baby attains personhood. By these means, the analysis engages with the entire trajectory of embryonic development as this is driven by scientific possibilities, both current and near future.
This chapter chronologically traces past legal engagement with the human embryo, from the 13th century, to the end of the 20th century. It does so with a view to demonstrating that a historical perspective is required to understand that process is a key facet of law-making in this area. Notable from this legal history is the law’s persistent efforts to engage with the embryo’s uncertain, processual nature. We cannot fully understand our present legal position without understanding the social, moral, and legal context from which it was born. By looking at the past ‘legal embryo,’ we can see how the law has reached today’s ‘legal embryo’.
When Argentine president Mauricio Macri announced in March 2018 that he supported a “responsible and mature” national debate regarding the decriminalization of abortion, it took many by surprise. In a Catholic country with a center-right government, where public opinion regarding abortion had hardly moved in decades—why would the abortion debate surface in Argentina when it did? Our answer is grounded in the social movements literature, as we argue that the organizational framework necessary for growing the decriminalization movement had already been built by an emergent feminist movement of unprecedented scope and influence: Ni Una Menos. By expanding the movement's social justice frame from gender violence to encompass abortion rights, feminist activists were able to change public opinion and expand the scope of debate, making salient an issue that had long been politically untouchable. We marshal evidence from multiple surveys carried out before, during, and after the abortion debate and in-depth interviews to shed light on the sources of abortion rights movements in unlikely contexts.
Analyzing votes on abortion-related legislation from the 103rd (1993–94) to the 115th (2017–18) Congresses, we find that both gender and party influence members’ voting behavior. Among Republicans, women are more likely than men to oppose pro-life initiatives, although the impact of gender attenuates over time. Among Democrats, apparent gender differences in voting behavior are explained by the nature of the districts they represent. We also find that the type of abortion issue impacts the influence of gender. Republican women are more likely than Republican men to defect on policies that highlight women's autonomy, such as on bills related to contraception, while Democratic men are more likely than Democratic women to support legislation related to abortion bans. These gender differences reflect a complex dynamic of members’ responsiveness to public opinion on specific issues and party efforts to influence that opinion in ways that favor perceptions of party issue expertise.
Many accounts of the morality of abortion assume that early fetuses must all have or lack moral status in virtue of developmental features that they share. Our actual attitudes toward early fetuses don’t reflect this all-or-nothing assumption. If we start with the assumption that our attitudes toward fetuses are accurately tracking their value, then we need an account of fetal moral status that can explain why it is appropriate to love some fetuses but not others. I argue that a fetus can come to have moral claims on persons who have taken up the activity of person-creation.
Reproductive justice refers to three primary principles: the right not to have a child, the right to have a child, and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. It depends upon the adoption and enactment of a human rights framework, including both negative rights (e.g., governments must not interfere with people’s autonomy) and positive rights (e.g., governments must ensure that people can exercise their rights and freedom and live with dignity). The term is preferred by many because it merges support for reproductive rights with broader movements for social justice. Lack of control over one’s body and an inability to make decisions about one’s destiny can have lasting impacts on women’s physical and mental health and well-being, and have been associated with shame, depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, poor body image, low self-esteem, and low self-worth. Reproductive injustice increases women’s morbidity and mortality risks, and it makes it difficult for them to provide a safe, healthy, and loving environment for their children. This chapter explores four themes based on psychological theory and research – poverty, access to education, access to health care services and supplies, culture – that impact reproductive health (e.g., preconception health, maternal care, maternal and infant mortality, abortion).
There is a pattern to how pregnancy is theatrically represented in Ireland: It is a taboo, a silence, an open secret. This is symptomatic of the Irish social and cultural stigmatization of women’s bodies and part of a larger discourse in which women’s bodies are carefully policed to be visible but inarticulate and assumed to be usable but unintelligible. This chapter considers new performances of pregnancy, maternity, and non-maternity on the Irish stage as a way of troubling the assumption that women’s bodies are invisible or inappropriate in contemporary theatre, in plays by ANU Productions, Bump & Grind, Stacey Gregg, Elaine Murphy, Frank McGuinness, Christian O’Reilly, and THEATREClub.
This chapter is concerned with the idea that the elegiac grotesque is rooted in the character of the puella herself and may manifest itself as a consequence of her role in the genre. The repeated use of cosmetics in order to enhance her erotic appeal may cause her to lose her hair and hence her beauty, forcing her to studiously cover up her ugliness. Sex may also result in an unwanted pregnancy, forcing her to have an abortion in order to remain in the elegiac world. Pregnancy and loss of beauty are both anti-elegiac motifs, though they are always potentially present in the very conception of the puella. Elegiac love can cause the puella to cross the boundaries of elegy and to have recourse to anti-elegiac measures in order to re-enter her role in the genre. This is particularly evident in the abortion poems. There the grotesque enters deeply into the elegiac genre, since it is used to restore the condition that can make elegiac love possible again; though it does not become the main point of the elegy, it represents a destabilizing nucleus in its narrative core.
Major historical shifts in the field of fertility, childbirth, and parenting have implications for feminist psychologists working on these topics. These shifts include approaches to sexuality and reproduction: a population control emphasis in the late 1940s, a reproductive rights paradigm in the 1990s, and progression from reproductive rights to reproductive justice. Feminist psychologists have to traverse the political landscape created by these broad approaches. In this chapter, we suggest ways in which such engagement may be facilitated through examination of mainstream assumptions and outcomes and the use of nuanced feminist research. Drawing from transnational feminisms, the principles of reproductive justice, and examples of research and interventions in reproductive decision-making, abortion, obstetric violence, "deviant" (m)others, early reproduction, and contraception, we argue that feminist psychology should attend to both global and cross-cutting power relations concerning fertility and reproduction, as well as localized dynamics.
American foreign policy has expanded in recent years to address issues that affect women and girls worldwide, global women's rights, yet there has been minimal investigation into how these representative claims for women worldwide are formed and the substantive U.S. commitment. Is this a reflection of a growing American feminist foreign policy or symbolic rhetoric for domestic audiences? To better understand the representation of global women's rights in American foreign policy, I analyze the political context behind three widely supported American foreign policy bills focusing on women that were introduced during the 111th Congress (2009–10). Each of these bills failed to become statute. Drawing from qualitative comparative case study analysis, I show how antiabortion politics constrain the legislative success of any American foreign policy legislation that focuses on women, regardless of relevance. This suggests that foreign women's bodies are a terrain for U.S. legislators to advance abortion policy objectives with minimal electoral constraint. Although advancing women's rights furthers broader U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as preventing terrorism and growing market economies, domestic abortion politics shape the boundaries of how global women's rights are represented in American foreign policy.
When abortion is discussed in the context of destigmatizing disability, it is usually in connection with the potential disabilities of the fetus. Disability rights activists increasingly encourage both lawmakers setting abortion policy and women contemplating abortion to think that a life with disabilities is worth living. In particular, they argue that a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome, let alone one with a cleft palate, should not for that reason be aborted. While taking this line of argument into account, this chapter will shift the frame of reference to various ways in which the law and bioethics of abortion treat pregnant women as disabled.
This paper reviews the history of Bill 53, the Freedom of Informed Choice (Abortions) Act. A private member’s bill introduced in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in 1985, Bill 53 would have imposed additional consent requirements on women seeking abortions. After concerns about its constitutionality were raised, the Bill was referred to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which found it fell outside provincial jurisdiction. This paper explores the connection between Bill 53 and its more well-known cousins, Morgentaler and Borowski, and examines judicial and political decision-making in the early Charter era.
The Introduction argues that the terms of the American abortion debate have changed in ways we have mostly missed. When forced to give up on a constitutional amendment banning abortion, pro-lifers sought to control the Supreme Court and reverse Roe. As part of this mission, abortion foes promoted restrictions that would hollow out abortion rights and set up test cases for the Court. But these laws did not obviously advance a right to life since they did not criminalize any abortions. To defend them, abortion foes instead detailed the benefits of specific restrictions – and the costs of abortion itself. Over time, abortion-rights supporters had to identify concrete benefits of abortion, explaining whether legal abortion was good for women and the communities in which they lived. Although some resisted a focus on the costs and benefits of abortion, this shift in the terms of the debated sparked discussions about poverty and abortion, the role of government, the changing American family, the influence of abortion on women’s health, and the nature of scientific uncertainty. And surprisingly, as discussion turned to policy costs and benefits, polarization deepened. Both sides disagreed not only about foundational rights but also about the basic facts.
The relationship between religiosity and political attitudes is well established in the United States, particularly around gendered issues like abortion. However, this relationship can be complicated by the highly gendered and racialized nature of social identities. In this paper, we explore how different forms of religiosity (belonging to a denomination, specific religious beliefs, and religious behavior in church and in private) interact with gender to shape Latino abortion preferences. Using two sets of national survey data, we find that Evangelicalism and church attendance are more strongly associated with anti-abortion attitudes among Latino men, while religious beliefs are gender neutral. Our results illustrate the importance of intersectional approaches to studies of social identities and political preferences, as well as the importance of including gender in research on the role of the Evangelical church on immigrant political behavior.
In 1973, by a 52–42 vote, the U.S. Senate adopted the Helms amendment, a law that prohibits the use of federal foreign assistance funding for abortion research and procedures. Congress did not hold a single hearing related to the legislation, despite the seriousness of family planning access and the fact that women’s reproductive healthcare was at stake. Only months before, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the right to terminate a pregnancy was a fundamental constitutional right rooted in privacy and protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. In dramatic contrast, the Helms amendment effectively conditioned U.S. foreign aid policy on the antiabortion platform long advocated by the legislation’s author, “the late, stridently antiabortion Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC).” Senator Helms, a former journalist, was a master of rhetoric. He claimed, “My amendment would stop the use of U.S. Government funds to promote and develop ways of killing unborn children.”
The battle over women’s autonomy, especially their reproductive healthcare and decision-making, has always been about much more than simply women’s health and safety. Rather, male power, control, and dominion over women’s reproduction historically served political purposes and entrenched social and cultural norms that framed women’s capacities almost exclusively as service to a husband, mothering, reproducing, and sexual chattel. For example, tort law carved out specific remedies for husbands who suffered the loss of their wives’ servitude and sex under the loss of consortium cause of action. Historically, loss of consortium litigation provided economic remedies only for husbands. This law derives from the legal premise that the husband is the master of the wife. She is his servant. Thus, when wives suffered a physical injury, husbands could file suit against third parties for the “loss” of their wives’ servitude, companionship, and sex. Most Black women, their mothers, and daughters encountered or directly suffered the physical norms and conditions of that cruel enterprise, including physical bondage, food deprivation, and physical torture (whippings, brining, and amputations of fingers and toes). They also endured reproductive coercion and terror, including sexual assaults, rapes, forced reproduction, and stripping away of offspring.
For all the important and even urgent attention to reproductive rights, focused on preserving abortion access in an era of political and judicial backlash, far less advocacy protects the interests of women who wish to remain pregnant. That is, abortion rights are the primary focus of reproductive privacy advocacy movements in the United States and have been for some time. Arguably, abortion has become so fundamentally intertwined linguistically and conceptually with the terminology of “reproductive privacy” and “reproductive rights” that little else fits within the taxonomy. One might even argue that the right to be free from government intervention in pregnancy has been excised from the framework of reproductive rights altogether, as some feminist scholars now refer to pregnancy preference as “birth activism” rather than as a part of the bundle of rights framed within reproductive privacy. Pro-choice, or even to exercise choice, within this narrow conception of reproductive rights serves only to affirm an abortion right. The reductive meaning of having choice is the ability to exercise agency over pregnancy termination. Unfortunately, this approach to reproductive rights suffers significant blind spots; it ignores the spectrum of reproductive health decisions a woman makes and in which she can be subjected to state power.
With the Supreme Court likely to reverse Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision, American debate appears fixated on clashing rights. The first comprehensive legal history of a vital period, Abortion and the Law in America illuminates an entirely different and unexpected shift in the terms of debate. Rather than simply championing rights, those on opposing sides battled about the policy costs and benefits of abortion and laws restricting it. This mostly unknown turn deepened polarization in ways many have missed. Never abandoning their constitutional demands, pro-choice and pro-life advocates increasingly disagreed about the basic facts. Drawing on unexplored records and interviews with key participants, Ziegler complicates the view that the Supreme Court is responsible for the escalation of the conflict. A gripping account of social-movement divides and crucial legal strategies, this book delivers a definitive recent history of an issue that transforms American law and politics to this day.
Policing the Womb brings to life the chilling ways in which women have become the targets of secretive state surveillance of their pregnancies. Michele Goodwin expands the reproductive health and rights debate beyond abortion to include how legislators increasingly turn to criminalizing women for miscarriages, stillbirths, and threatening the health of their pregnancies. The horrific results include women giving birth while shackled in leg irons, in solitary confinement, and even delivering in prison toilets. In some states, pregnancy has become a bargaining chip with prosecutors offering reduced sentences in exchange for women agreeing to be sterilized. The author shows how prosecutors may abuse laws and infringe women's rights in the process, sometimes with the complicity of medical providers who disclose private patient information to law enforcement. Often the women most affected are poor and of color. This timely book brings to light how the unrestrained efforts to punish and police women's bodies have led to the United States being the deadliest country in the developed world to be pregnant.
Chapter 1 explores the gradual introduction of family planning to Cuban women, highlighting the Revolution’s centralization of state authority as well as its rejection of medical plurality. The chapter argues that medical leadership implemented policies that ultimately increased state control over women’s labor and reproductive decisions. Early public health models failed to include access to abortion and helped fuel rumors that the government had criminalized the procedures. But revolutionary leadership never responded to these popular rumors and instead emphasized the benefits of hospital births and the ideological dangers of birth control; evidence suggests that poor Afro-Cuban women and rural women were specific targets of this effort to regulate reproduction. By 1965, following an unexpected baby boom, the Ministry of Public Health began to provide women with some contraceptive options. But reproductive autonomy was not the goal of these reforms, and Cuban women’s persistent reliance on unauthorized abortions to regulate reproduction reveals that state health programs were not meeting the needs of all its citizens. The chapter shows that it was only after 1971 that both contraceptives and abortions became more available to Cuban women, reflecting a shift to bring the ideology more in line with that advanced by the Soviets.