Home » At Womens Expense: State Power and the Politics of Fetal Rights by Cynthia R. Daniels
At Womens Expense: State Power and the Politics of Fetal Rights Cynthia R. Daniels

At Womens Expense: State Power and the Politics of Fetal Rights

Cynthia R. Daniels

Published January 1st 1993
ISBN : 9780674050433
Hardcover
191 pages
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 About the Book 

Some say the fetus is the tiniest citizen. If so, then the bodies of women themselves have become political arenas - or, recent cases suggest, battlefields: A cocaine-addicted mother is convicted of drug trafficking through the umbilical cord.MoreSome say the fetus is the tiniest citizen. If so, then the bodies of women themselves have become political arenas - or, recent cases suggest, battlefields: A cocaine-addicted mother is convicted of drug trafficking through the umbilical cord. Women employees at a battery plant must prove infertility to keep their jobs. A terminally ill woman is forced to undergo a cesarean section. No longer concerned with conception or motherhood, the new politics of fetal rights focuses on fertility and pregnancy itself, on a womans relationship with the fetus. How exactly, Cynthia Daniels asks, does this affect a womans rights? Are they different from a mans? And how has the state helped determine the difference? The answers, rigorously pursued throughout this book, give us a detailed look into the states paradoxical role in gender politics - as both a challenger of injustice and an agent of social control. In benchmark legal cases concerned with forced medical treatment, fetal protectionism in the workplace, and drug and alcohol use and abuse, Daniels shows us state power at work in the struggle between fetal rights and womens rights. These cases raise critical questions about the impact of gender on womens standing as citizens, and about the relationship between state power and gender inequality. Fully appreciating the difficulties of each case, the author probes the subtleties of various positions and their implications for a deeper understanding of how a womans reproductive capability affects her relationship to state power. In her analysis, the need to defend womens right to self-sovereignty becomes clear, but so does the need to define further the very concepts of self-sovereigntyand privacy. The intensity of the debate over fetal rights suggests the depth of the current gender crisis and the force of the feelings of social dislocation generated by reproductive politics. Breaking through the public mythology that clouds these debates, At Womens Expense mak