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This paper examines the implications of the disability rights critique of prenatal testing on the development of genetic policy and abortion rights. It traces the…
This paper examines the implications of the disability rights critique of prenatal testing on the development of genetic policy and abortion rights. It traces the reappearance of the disabled body in public deliberations over reproductive and genetic politics that use disability to frame arguments about which bodies are worthy of protection, how and why we limit reproductive choices, and what reasons women may use to terminate their pregnancies. The disability critique of prenatal testing and selective abortion finds itself in productive tension with reproductive rights politics, which increasingly features disability in both pro-life and pro-choice messages. The uneasy alliance between disability and pro-life interests has profound implications for both disability legal scholarship and the sociolegal inquiry into the role of rights articulation – and rejection – by social movements.
In 1920 Margaret Sanger called voluntary motherhood “the key to the temple of liberty” and noted that women were “rising in fundamental revolt” to claim their right to…
In 1920 Margaret Sanger called voluntary motherhood “the key to the temple of liberty” and noted that women were “rising in fundamental revolt” to claim their right to determine their own reproductive fate (Rothman, 2000, p. 73). Decades later Barbara Katz Rothman reflected on the social, political and legal changes produced by reproductive-rights feminists since that time. She wrote: So the reproductive-rights feminists of the 1970s won, and abortion is available – just as the reproductive-rights feminists of the 1920s won, and contraception is available. But in another sense, we did not win. We did not win, could not win, because Sanger was right. What we really wanted was the fundamental revolt, the “key to the temple of liberty.” A doctor’s fitting for a diaphragm, or a clinic appointment for an abortion, is not the revolution. It is not even a woman-centered approach to reproduction (2000, p. 79).
With an aim to investigate the recent state of the feminist clinics and their negotiation of medical authority in a time of increased technoscientific biomedicalization…
With an aim to investigate the recent state of the feminist clinics and their negotiation of medical authority in a time of increased technoscientific biomedicalization, and capitalistic health-care system, I conducted a study of two feminist health centers in the Northeast of the United States in 2001–2002. In this chapter, I discuss how the two centers (a nonprofit collective and a for-profit center with a more hierarchical structure) negotiated medical authority in organizational terms as impacted by the larger context of medicine and its interaction with the state, capitalist health-care system, and antiabortion forces. The chapter concludes with a discussion of demedicalization as a multilevel process and implications for feminist care (service delivery) and U.S. Women's Health Movement.
Rights constitute a familiar feature of the liberal discourse of judging. This chapter seeks to recast this discourse away from the language of rights by considering two…
Rights constitute a familiar feature of the liberal discourse of judging. This chapter seeks to recast this discourse away from the language of rights by considering two cases where liberals often invoke it: abortion and same-sex marriage. I argue that the presence of rights in American constitutional discourse exacerbates the counter-majoritarian nature of judicial review. We do better to recast the language of judging from an emphasis on protecting rights to an emphasis on making sure that the demos acts on publicly justifiable reasons. In doing so, I proffer a novel analysis of liberal theory's extant commitment to public reason, one that conceptualizes public reason as representing the scope of state power.
As numerous scholars have noted, the law takes a strikingly incoherent approach to adolescent reproduction. States overwhelmingly allow a teenage girl to independently…
As numerous scholars have noted, the law takes a strikingly incoherent approach to adolescent reproduction. States overwhelmingly allow a teenage girl to independently consent to pregnancy care and medical treatment for her child, and even to give up her child for adoption, all without notice to her parents, but require parental notice or consent for abortion. This chapter argues that this oft-noted contradiction in the law on teenage reproductive decision-making is in fact not as contradictory as it first appears. A closer look at the law’s apparently conflicting approaches to teenage abortion and teenage childbirth exposes common ground that scholars have overlooked. The chapter compares the full spectrum of minors’ reproductive rights and unmasks deep similarities in the law on adolescent reproduction – in particular an undercurrent of desire to punish (female) teenage sexuality, whether pregnant girls choose abortion or childbirth. It demonstrates that in practice, the law undermines adolescents’ reproductive rights, whichever path of pregnancy resolution they choose. At the same time that the law thwarts adolescents’ access to abortion care, it also fails to protect adolescents’ rights as parents. The analysis shows that these two superficially conflicting sets of rules in fact work in tandem to enforce a traditional gender script – that self-sacrificing mothers should give birth and give up their infants to better circumstances, no matter the emotional costs to themselves. This chapter also suggests novel policy solutions to the difficulties posed by adolescent reproduction by urging reforms that look to third parties other than parents or the State to better support adolescent decision-making relating to pregnancy and parenting.
This chapter examines how women deploy gendered motherhood norms to publicly challenge abortion stigma. Drawing on a sample of 41 abortion stories from women living in…
This chapter examines how women deploy gendered motherhood norms to publicly challenge abortion stigma. Drawing on a sample of 41 abortion stories from women living in Tennessee, I find that women evoke notions of intensive, total, and idealized motherhood in order to manage and challenge the stigma of an abortion. A large proportion of these stories were written by married mothers who emphasized their identities as good mothers and wives. A close qualitative analysis of these trends reveals two dominant forms of recasting abortion. First, abortion is framed as an extension of total mothering to spare an unborn baby from risky health conditions. Part of this includes casting abortion as an often-necessary choice in order for a woman to develop into the perfect mother for the benefit of her children – altruistic self-development. Second, abortion is construed as a form of maternal protection of current children to continue intensively mothering them. Both themes speak to women’s strategies for reframing abortion as a health practice to promote the well-being of children. These findings have implications for the study of medical stigma, reproduction, and the impact of gender ideals on women’s health choices.
Most women seeking abortion pay out-of-pocket for care, partly due to legal restrictions on insurance coverage. These costs can constitute a hardship for many women…
Most women seeking abortion pay out-of-pocket for care, partly due to legal restrictions on insurance coverage. These costs can constitute a hardship for many women. Advocates have sought to ensure insurance coverage for abortion, but we do not know whether the intermediaries between policy and patient – abortion-providing facilities – are able and willing to accept insurance.
We interviewed 22 abortion facility administrators, representing 64 clinical sites in 21 states that varied in their legal allowance of public and private insurance coverage for abortion, about their facility’s insurance practices, and experiences.
Respondents described challenges in accepting public and/or private insurance that included, but were not limited to, legal regulations. When public insurance broadly covered abortion, its low reimbursement failed to cover the costs of care. Because of the predominance of low income patients in abortion care, this caused financial challenges for facilities, leading one in a state that allows broad coverage to nonetheless decline public insurance. Accepting private insurance carried its own risks, including nonpayment because costs fell within patients’ deductibles. Respondents described work-arounds to protect their facility from nonpayment and enable patients to use their private insurance.
The structure of insurance and the population of abortion patients mean that changes at the political level may not translate into changes in individual women’s experience of paying for abortion.
This research illustrates how legal regulations, insurer practices, and the socioeconomics of the patient population matter for abortion-providing facilities’ decision-making about accepting insurance.
Activists make strategic decisions about how to pursue their claims, but strategy is hard to study and the topic is underdeveloped theoretically. Here, we contribute to…
Activists make strategic decisions about how to pursue their claims, but strategy is hard to study and the topic is underdeveloped theoretically. Here, we contribute to the developing academic literature on social movement strategy by offering a theoretical framework that emphasizes three distinct, albeit interrelated, movement choices: arenas of action, advocacy tactics, and demands. This framework allows us to infer strategy at the movement level through the analysis of events data. Using events data from the New York Times from 1959 to 1996, in conjunction with historical accounts of abortion politics in the United States, we analyze the development of the strategies of the anti-abortion and abortion rights movements. We demonstrate the utility of this framework, and show how movement strategies are affected by both political opportunities and the actions of countermovements, whose activists respond to the same political opportunities. We conclude with a discussion of the complications of assessing movement strategy and call for more research on the topic.