Expecting Trouble: Surrogacy, Fetal Abuse, and New Reproductive Technologies

By Patricia Boling | Go to book overview

social problem in the best way that they could. However, their cultural predispositions led to a replication of existing gender biases. This tracing of the origins and development of the issue of fetal abuse clearly illustrates the way that policy definitions are socially constructed. Through their seemingly unconnected actions, hundreds of individuals developed a causal story that fit the historic gender biases of the institutions framing the problem.


Notes

This chapter is revised from Jean Schroedel and Paul Peretz, "A Gender Analysis of Policy Formation: The Case of Fetal Abuse", Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 19( 2):335- 360 ( summer 1994). Reprinted with permission.

1.
Scholars have traced this view to a belief in "separate spheres" of responsibility for men and women. Because of the greater power and status ascribed to the male area of responsibility, individuals holding this world view are also often described as having patriarchal beliefs. See Bates et al. ( 1983) for discussion of the origins and social implications of these beliefs and Cott ( 1987) for a history of the conflicts between the "separate spheres" ideology and feminism in the United States.
2.
Much of the literature on agenda setting utilizes the number of column inches in the New York Times as a measure of an issue's salience. For example, in his classic study of agenda setting in the Senate, Walker ( 1977) uses the number of column inches in the New York Times as a means of showing that the public considered traffic safety, coal mine safety, and occupational health and safety to be important problems that warranted governmental action. None of these three issue areas generated anywhere close to the number of column inches devoted to fetal abuse. In the three years prior to passage of the 1966 Highway Safety Act, there were less than 163 column inches devoted to the problem of traffic safety. Coal mine safety generated only thirty-six column inches in the three years prior to the 1969 passage of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, and in the three years prior to the 1970 passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, there were only twenty-nine column inches dealing with workplace safety.
3.
This underreporting of domestic violence against women is especially severe within the African-American community. One recent study of violence against pregnant women reported that only 6 percent of the battering against black women was done by husbands and ex-husbands. Boyfriends, who would not be counted in the national surveys, accounted for a majority of the violence against African-American women ( McFarlane, Parker, Soeken, and Bullock 1992:3178).
4.
See Campbell, Poland, Waller, and Ager ( 1992) for a summary of current research dealing with the relationship between pregnancy and battering.
5.
In 1960 only approximately 3.8 percent of law school graduates were women. By 1970 that figure had increased to 8.6 percent and ten years later it was up to 33.5 percent ( Cook 1983:50).
6.
Prosecutors vary a great deal in their willingness to pursue criminal actions against substance-abusing pregnant women. The highest number of criminal prosecutions have occurred in South Carolina, where thirty women were indicted prior to 1992 for drug offenses involving fetal exposure ( Strickland and Whicker 1992:6). At least 167 pregnant women from twenty-six states have been arrested and faced criminal charges for endangering their fetuses. Existing statutes dealing with child abuse, child neglect, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child endangerment, delivering drugs to a minor, assault

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Expecting Trouble: Surrogacy, Fetal Abuse, and New Reproductive Technologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • 2 - The Tailor-Made Child: Implications for Women and the State 9
  • Notes 19
  • References 21
  • 3 - Fetal Personhood: Political Identity Under Construction 25
  • Notes 44
  • References 51
  • 4 - Fetal Endangerment Versus Fetal Welfare: Discretion of Prosecutors in Determining Criminal Liability 55
  • Notes 75
  • References 79
  • 5 - A Gender Analysis of Policy Formation: the Case of Fetal Abuse 85
  • Notes 103
  • References 104
  • 6 - Punishment, Treatment, Empowerment: Three Approaches to Policy for Pregnant Addicts 109
  • Notes 126
  • References 131
  • 7 - The Aclu Philosophy and the Right to Abuse the Unborn 135
  • Notes 140
  • 8 - The Trope of the Dark Continent in the Fetal Harm Debates: "Africanism" and the Right to Choice' 142
  • Notes 152
  • 9 - "Surrogate Mothering" and Women's Freedom: a Critique of Contracts for Human Reproduction 156
  • Notes 171
  • References 174
  • 10 - The "Gift" of a Child: Commercial Surrogacy, Gift Surrogacy, and Motherhood 177
  • Notes 196
  • References 200
  • About the Contributors 203
  • About the Book 205
  • Index 207
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