Implications for Women
and the State
PATRICIA BAYER Richard
FOR MOST OF HUMAN HISTORY, reproduction was little understood. As a consequence, women had babies without any notion of choice. Pregnancy happened and a baby arrived. With increased knowledge, however, people gained significant control over their fertility -- over whether, when, and how they would have children. Now we near a threshold at which we confront other reproductive choices. Soon we may be able to opt for a boy or a girl that is screened for defects, treated and improved before birth: the tailor-made child. This chapter reviews developments bearing on this possibility and suggests implications for women and the state.
and Women's Rights
In general, increased control over and intervention in reproduction stem from new scientific knowledge and related technology. Research in molecular and reproductive biology has improved our understanding of genes and prenatal development. New reproductive technologies (NRTs) such as genetic screening and in vitro fertilization (IVF) have both benefited from such research and contributed to it. These developments influence the status of the fetus and widen the possibilities for "designer children."