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Re-negotiating reproductive technologies:the 'Public Foetus' revisited

Firth, Georgina (2009) Re-negotiating reproductive technologies:the 'Public Foetus' revisited. Feminist Review, 92 (n/a). pp. 54-71. ISSN 1466-4380

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Abstract

In debates over abortion, the foetus and the woman have been continually positioned as antagonists. Given the stakes involved in such debates about personal integrity, individual responsibility, life and death, it is no wonder that many radical feminist authors have concentrated on refocusing the attention on women and away from the disembodied foetus. Such writers have worked hard to decode and deconstruct the public foetus in our midst and have mobilized interpretative tools such as cultural criticism to contextualize the production and consumption of foetal images. Barbara Duden's book, The Public Foetus, is an important and interesting contribution to this effort, which is still taken up by authors writing in this field. Duden's strategy is to seek to remind us (and in particular those who are involved in reproductive medicine) that pregnancy is concentrated in the embedded pregnant woman rather than the disembodied ‘public foetus’ and she attempts to retrieve the embodied woman as the site of pregnancy through what Michaels has termed a ‘fetal disappearing act’. While this may create as many problems for women as it resolves, I would argue that, while the ‘public foetus’ continues to loom large in the politics of abortion and women's positions in relation to the new reproductive technologies remain contested, Duden's work remains important in the continuing debate about how women's reproductive freedom can be continually re-negotiated and re-established.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Feminist Review
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Law School
ID Code: 33309
Deposited By: Ms Georgina Firth
Deposited On: 12 May 2010 14:40
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 21:54
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/33309

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