Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America

Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America

Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America

Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America

Synopsis

Rich with the voices and stories of participants, these touching, firsthand accounts examine how women of diverse racial, ethnic, class and religious backgrounds perceive prenatal testing, the most prevalent and routinized of the new reproducing technologies. Based on the author's decade of research and her own personal experiences with amniocentesis, Testing Women, Testing the Fetus explores the "geneticization" of family life in all its complexity and diversity.

Excerpt

So I was three months pregnant before I knew I was pregnant. Just figured it was change of life. the clinic kept saying no, and it's really the same signs, menopause and pregnancy, you just feel that lousy. So when they told me I was pregnant I thought about abortion. I mean, maybe I figured I was too old for this. But in my neighborhood, a lot of Caribbean women have babies; a lot of them are late babies. So I got used to it. But the clinic doctor was freaked out. He sent me for genetic counseling. Counseling? I thought counseling meant giving reassurance, helping someone accept and find their way. Wisdom, help, guidance, you know what I mean. This lady was a smart lady, but right away she started pulling out pictures of mongoloids. So I got huffy: "I didn't come here to look at pictures of mongoloids," I says to her. So she got huffy and told me it was about mongoloids, this counseling. So we got more and more huffy between us, and finally I left. Wasn't going to sit and listen to that stuff. By the time I got myself to the appointment [for the test], I'd been to see my healing woman, who calmed me down, gave me the reassurance I needed. I knew everything was gonna be ok. Oh, I wouldn't have had an abortion that late in the game. Maybe if it had been earlier. But not so late. I just got helped out by the healer woman, so I could wait out the results of that test without too much fussing. (Naiumah Foster, 43, African-American educator)

Naiumah foster's alternative counseling resources are not available to everyone confronting the anxiety that prenatal testing provokes. Some women find solace in talking with friends, family members, or religious leaders; others prefer to keep their feelings about the test to themselves. While a

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