Event DateSep 22, 2011
Presented at the CRG Thursday Forum, Moral Panics & the Fantastic Future Family, September 22, 2011
What’s a Feminist to Do? How New Anti-abortion Strategies and New Technologies are Reconfiguring the Debate over Sex Selection, Race and Abortion
Dr. Sujatha Jesudason, Generations Ahead
One of the more incendiary tactics by anti-choice advocates recently has been to propose legislation to ban abortion for reasons of sex and race. Conflating charges of sex selection with claims of “race-selective abortions” and black genocide, these crusaders have introduced legislation in eight states and the “Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act” at the federal level. Discursively locating themselves themselves as champions of Asian and African American women, they are passionately working to undermine and restrict women’s reproductive autonomy while claiming to fight for race and gender equity. And yet, selective abortion and emerging reproductive technologies that allow for pre- and post-pregnancy genetic trait selection are challenging feminists to develop more nuanced and careful positions, and messages, on reproductive freedom. Least we abandon our commitments to race, disability and gender justice, we can no longer myopically only defend a woman’s right to choose, especially if that right include sex selection and designer babies. What other positions might we take? What would it look like for feminists to “discourage” sex selective or disability de-selective practices while protecting women’s reproductive freedom? How might we work to change the social, political and economic context in which women are making reproductive decisions? If society has a stake in the personal decisions that women make about whether or not to have children, and what type of children, then what kinds of enabling conditions do we want to create to encourage certain kinds of decisions?