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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 16, Issue 1, Winter 2012
Feminism, Autonomy & Reproductive Technology

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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Dana S. Belu, Sylvia Burrow, Elizabeth Soliday Introduction: Feminism, Autonomy & Reproductive Technology
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2. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Dana S. Belu Nature and Technology in Modern Childbirth: A Phenomenological Interpretation
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This paper provides a phenomenological interpretation of technological and natural childbirth. By using Heidegger’s ontology of technology to think about childbirth I argue that these two types of contemporary childbirth present us with a false dilemma as both reflect the same norms Heidegger associates with modernity, namely order, control, and efficiency. The paper briefly explains Heidegger’s concept of the enframing as the essence of the technological age whilefocusing on how it helps us to avoid falling into a technophilic or technophobic trap. Although the technophobic approach popularized by Lamaze gained some favor with feminists who saw the increased use of reproductive technology as an extension of patriarchal control over women’s bodies, I argue that this natural birthing technique incorporated order and control in ways that are similar to its technophilic counterpart. In order to move beyond what I call the reproductiveenframing, it is necessary to recognize the false dilemma presented by the technological and natural alternatives.
3. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Cynthia D. Coe, Matthew C. Altman Mandatory Ultrasound Laws and the Coercive Use of Informed Consent
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Requiring that a woman who is seeking an abortion be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her fetus has spread from anti-abortion “pregnancy resource centers” to state laws. Proponents of these laws claim that having access to the ultrasound image is necessary for a woman to make a medically informed decision. In this paper, we argue that ultrasound examinations frame fetuses visually and linguistically as persons and interpellate pregnant women as mothers, with all of the cultural meaning invested in those two normative concepts. Presenting these judgments as medical information is misleading. Because women are being subjected to these cultural expectations unknowingly, mandatory ultrasound laws in fact undermine women’s autonomy. Fully informed consent would include a critical engagement with social norms around femininity and a recognition that such laws are meant to advance the state’s interest in preserving potential life.
4. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Sylvia Burrow Reproductive Autonomy and Reproductive Technology
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The emergence of new forms of reproductive technology raise an increasingly complex array of social and ethical issues. Nevertheless, this paper focuses on commonplace reproductive technologies used during labor and birth such as ultrasound, fetal monitoring, episiotomy, epidurals, labor induction, amniotomy, and cesarean section. This paper maintains that social pressures increase women’s perceived need to such reproductive technologies and thus undermine women’s capacity to choose an elective cesarean or avoid an emergency cesarean. Routine, normalized use of technology interferes with the possibility of choosing use of technology where best suited through misdirecting laboring women to use technological resources whenever possible. This normalized use of technology decreases risk tolerance and increases dependence on technology for reassurance, which bears significant implications for self-trust and self-confidence. My account encourages women’s cultivation of autonomy as a capacity interconnected with our own attitudes and those of other persons; and as a function of cultivating trust and confidence in one’s body.
5. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Tanya N. Cook Hooked Up: How Electronic Fetal Monitoring Affects Maternal Agency and Maternal Autonomy
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Near ubiquitous use of electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) during low-risk childbirth constrains both maternal agency and maternal autonomy. An analysis of interdisciplinary literature about EFM reveals that its use cannot be understood apart from broader norms and values that have significant implications for the agency and autonomy of laboring women. Overreliance on EFM use for low-risk women threatens their autonomy in several ways: by privileging the status of the fetal patient, by delegitimizing women’s embodied experience of childbirth, and by constructing EFM data as objective science despite evidence to the contrary. In birth situations defined as high-risk, however, EFM may lead to greater maternal agency by enabling women to choose vaginal over cesarean birth. Viewing doctor-patient interactions as a co-construction in the context of an understanding that sees EFM as a social as well as technological construction may improve autonomy in childbirth.
6. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Soliday Autonomy in Maternal Accounts of Birth after Cesarean
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Following decades of maltreatment of women in obstetric care, professional respect for maternal autonomy in obstetric decision making and care have become codified in global and national professional ethical guidelines. Yet, using the example of birth after cesarean, identifiable threats to maternal autonomy in obstetrics continue. This paper focuses on how current scientific knowledge and obstetric practice patterns factor into restricted maternal autonomy as evidenced in three representative maternal accounts obtained prior and subsequent to birth after cesarean. Short- and long-term remedies to improve the current state of restricted maternal autonomy in clinical practice surrounding decision making on birth after cesarean are provided.
7. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Damien W Riggs, Clemence Due Representations of Surrogacy in Submissions to a Parliamentary Inquiry in New South Wales
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Whilst feminist commentators have long critiqued surrogacy as a practice of commodification, surrogacy as a mode of family formation continues to grow in popularity. In this paper we explore public representations of surrogacy through a discourse analytic reading of submissions made in Australia to an Inquiry regarding surrogacy legislation. The findings suggest that many submissions relied upon normative understandings of surrogates as either ‘good women’ or ‘bad mothers’. This is of concern given that such public representations may shape the views of those who utilize surrogacy services in ways that limit attention to the ethics of surrogacy.
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8. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Wei Zhang, Adam Briggle Moralizing Technology
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