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.
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.