Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law

Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law

Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law

Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law

Excerpt

It is common to say that something is good in theory but not in practice.

I always want to say, then it is not such a good theory, is it? To be good in
theory but not in practice posits a relation between theory and practice that
places theory prior to practice, both methodologically and normatively,
as if theory is a terrain unto itself.

—Catharine A. MacKinnon

IBEGAN WRITING this book in May 1992, shortly after completing my first book, Abortion and Dialogue: Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, and American Law, which was a theoretical account of my religious-feminist perspective with some practical applications. The book was highly aspirational, suggesting that we should practice law in a way that promoted good-faith dialogue on the divisive issue of abortion. Organizationally, it moved from theory to practice. As I was completing the book, I was engaged in litigation to overturn the Louisiana abortion statute that criminalized nearly all abortions. This experience, among others, caused me to modify my highly aspirational feminist-theological perspective to deal with the harsh realities of the broken society in which we live. As I said in the Afterword to that book, "When women are attacked by hostile state legislatures, they unfortunately must respond in self-defense even when that self-defense is not as dialogic as we may ultimately desire." When I wrote those words, I knew I had a lot more to learn about combining theory and practice and therefore promised myself (and the reader) that "I shall try to answer this question as I continue to practice law."

This book represents an attempt to further answer the question of how to combine theory and practice. I have chosen to tackle two issues that are central to many versions of modern feminist theory—the anti-essentialism critique and equality theory. The anti-essentialist critique suggests that feminists often refer to "women" in a way that is not inclusive of the most disadvantaged women in society. I decided to ask whether my efforts on behalf of women truly benefited all women in society. Equality theory suggests that similarly situated people should be treated alike. Because there are no "pregnant men" to whom we can compare pregnant women, I decided to ask whether equality theory could be used to redress women's subordination in the reproductive health context. Fi-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.