The New Reproductive Technologies: Where Do Women Stand?

By Mitchell, Penni | Herizons, Spring 1994 | Go to article overview

The New Reproductive Technologies: Where Do Women Stand?


Mitchell, Penni, Herizons


THE NEW REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES: WHERE DO WOMEN STAND?.

INTRODUCTION

The very idea of new reproductive technologies conjures up irresistible images: miracle cures, benevolent scientists in crisp lab coats, increased choice for women, and the creation of new life all coming together for the advancement of the human race. For people unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, and for single women and lesbians, the carrot is more than a mere phallus or symbol of fertility. It entices with the hope of life, in some instances that last chance to bear a child, a chance that is, for some, worth taking at almost any cost.

And there's the rub. As feminists, we know that when scientific tinkering involves women's reproductive lives, we've got reason to worry. Usually dangerous, more often than not used to control under-privileged groups of women, never controlled by women, and most often with side effects that wouldn't be tolerated for men or lab rats, the old reproductive technologies still haven't given us what we wanted: safe birth control; access to abortion; woman-centred birthing; protection from sexually transmitted diseases and the social conditions necessary to raise happy children.

What they've given us instead are dangerous drugs like Depo-Provera; an epidemic of unnecessary but profitable hysterectomies; dangerous, interventionist birthing practices; the forced use of the contraceptive Norplant (in the U.S.) and stumbling blocks that are put up to prevent us from having reproductive choice if we seek to terminate unplanned pregnancies.

With the release of the final report of The Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, we are forced to deal with procedures, experiments and therapies that could potentially help some women, and also offer the potential means of human exploitation, the likes of which we haven't even dreamed.

The creation of a metaphoric Frankenstein, says Gwynne Basen, co-editor of the recently released Misconceptions: The Social Construction of Choice and the New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies, is a mixture of fear and fascination. "The idea of a man-made man has always captivated the imagination. By introducing the figure of the scientist as an agent of creation into the public imagination, Mary Shelley cast a visionary glance into the future and in the process created a modern myth," surmizes Basen in the aptly-titled volume (Volume 2 is forthcoming).

The NRTs, as the new reproductive technologies are called, most likely aren't all good or all bad; however, they are on a continuum on which women, as producers of human life, take more of a back seat as suppliers of the means of reproduction. Who is in control? Are NRTs a cautionary tale of eugenics, of profiting in human reproduction, of genetic altering, fetal experimentation and corporate profitability unleashed? Or is there a middle ground to be found between the values of multi-national drug companies, the medical system and patriarchal values?

The Baird Commission

Like it or not, the federal government spent $28 million to lay the groundwork for expanding experimentation and business opportunities in the only area where women have had a virtual monopoly for the last 30 million years or so: the creation of life. It is important that whether we are in favour of in-vitro fertilization, transferring zygotes between women or freezing eggs now to grow later, we have to keep reminding ourselves that assisted conception experiments rarely result in pregnancies and even more rarely result in babies. They are experimental, extremely costly, have serious side effects, including high rates of ectopic pregnancies which can rupture any healthy fallopian tubes a woman may still have. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The New Reproductive Technologies: Where Do Women Stand?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.