For the next two weeks, as we explore reproductive rights within feminism, we will closely examine (and call into question) a treasured valued within feminism: the idea of Choice. The idea of choice--the freedom to choose, the freedom to be who we want to be and to have the power to make the kinds of decisions that we want to make, regardless of our gender, race, class, etc.--is central to feminism in general, and most central to feminist organizing around reproductive rights.
- What does it mean to have the power to choose, to be pro-choice, to be in control of our own reproductive destiny?
- How do we understand choice?
- Who gets to choose? What are the choices we get to make?
The readings for today and next week allow us to explore these questions and to look at:
- How the movement for choice has sometimes come at the expense of certain women and
- How there has often been a fine line between policies that work to broaden the choices of women in terms of reproduction and policies that serve to further regulate the bodies and behaviors of women
We looked at:
- Foundational rhetoric about choice and control over one's own body (see Sanger)
- Birth control and the production of the pill (see the Pill)
- Disturbing link between birth control and population control--is it choice or coercion? (see Roberts)
Next week we will look closer at the idea of choice-what it means for feminism, how it is understood, what the underlying implications of promoting choice are, etc. Next Tuesday, we will examine a wide range of feminist reflections on "choice" and then on Thursday, we will look at some recent feminist blog entries that discuss current, as in right now, issues related to choice. The point of our critical exploration is not to challenge or reject the idea of choice, that is the belief in the fundamental right of women to have control over their own personhood--in body/mind/spirit. All of these readings that we will be discussing in the next two weeks believe that this is still an important goal. Instead, the point of our critical exploration is to investigate the ways in which this belief has been realized within feminism and the limits of that realization.