Reproductive Technology, or Reproductive Justice?: An Ecofeminist, Environmental Justice Perspective on the Rhetoric of Choice

Ethics and the Environment 15 (2):103 (2010)
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Abstract

This essay develops an ecofeminist, environmental justice perspective on the shortcomings of “choice” rhetoric in the politics of women’s reproductive self-determination, specifically around fertility-enhancing technologies. These new reproductive technologies (NRTs) medicalize and thus depoliticize the contemporary phenomenon of decreased fertility in first-world industrialized societies, personalizing and privatizing both the problem and the solution when the root of this phenomenon may be more usefully addressed as a problem of PCBs, POPs, and other toxic by-products of industrialized culture that are degrading our personal and environmental health. The NRTs’ rhetoric of choice is implicitly antifeminist: it blames the victim by attributing rising infertility rates to middle-class women who delay childbearing while struggling to launch careers; it conceals information about adverse health effects and solicits egg donation and gestation services from women disadvantaged by economic status, nation, and age; and it offers no choice at all for the millions of female animals—chicks, cows, turkeys, pigs, and others—whose fertility is regularly manipulated and whose offspring are commodified as products for industrialized animal food production. An intersectional analysis shifts the discourse away from reproductive choice to a framework of ecological, feminist, and reproductive justice.

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