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WGST 1F90 (178)
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Lecture 12

WGST 1F90 Lecture 12: Reproduction

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Department
Women's and Gender Studies
Course
WGST 1F90
Professor
Jenny Janke
Semester
Fall

Description
Reproduction A Very Brief History of the Big Little Pill: • Oral contraceptive was introduced in May 1950 • The 1950’s: a time of very little choice for women • The pill was initially marketed for “cycle control:”; socially, legally, and politically, contraception was taboo • In Canada, under the 1892 Criminal code any discussion of birth control was illegal and was considered obscene • Illegal to discuss contraception or prescribe the pill for contraception until 1969, when the Canadian parliament decriminalized contraception • Only married women could be prescribed the pill for birth control • Physicians could prescribe hormones for any reason other than birth control (eg. menstrual irregularity). If they prescribed the pill for birth control they were breaking the law • Safety concerns were raised as early as 1934 • Public trust of medicine was shattered by the self-determination envisioned in the feminist movement • Public trust in the medical world was shaken again in 1974 by the dangers discovered after marketing the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device • Implants were on the market in Canada only from 1991 to 2000 Key Terms: • Politics of the body. • Reproductive Justice. • Sexual Sterilization Act. • Unsafe Abortion. • Bill C-150. • Morgentaler Decision. Introduction: • The issue of reproduction must be broadened; more than abortion and birth control; the politics of the body • Politics of the body: the right of wo/men to control their own bodies within a variety of contexts: social, legal and medical and political. • Denying women the right to control their own bodies is a denial of basic rights • The politics of the body has been central to feminism and the achieving rights for women and girls Reproductive Justice: • The right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments • Human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions • A shift for women from a narrower focus on legal access and individual choice to a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on our power. • RJ addresses the social reality of inequality, specifically, the inequality of opportunities that we have to control our reproductive destiny • Options for making choices have to be safe, affordable and accessible Reproductive Justice: • RJ emerged from groups representing women colour and indigenous women; has gone further by addressing inequalities in access, advocating for health service provision to traditionally marginalized communities. Embodied Subject: • Gaining control over our own bodies has been a central concern of the women’s movement. • We are embodied subjects and we are confronted by this embodiment daily. • Wide range of fronts women have struggled to regain or maintain control over their bodies. o State o Medical establishment o Institutionalised o Pharmaceutical companies o Advertisers o Pornography o Institutionalized censorship o Violence • Control over our bodies’ reproductive capacities has been close to the centre of feminism • Reproductive capacities are not just stopping/preventing pregnancy, but achieving pregnancy/reproduction • Roach Pierson writes, “for example, women with disabilities and lesbians have had to fight for the right to have or adopt a baby. Race, poverty, disability and/or unmarried status can rend women vulnerable to involuntary sterilization” (1995, p. 102). • Evident is the assumption that only a married, heterosexual, able bodied white woman is the ideal mother. • Canada has a history of sterilizing those women seen unfit to be mother and men unfit to father • Women, first nations, young and those with mental/physical differences were disproportionately sterilized • March 21, 1928, sexual sterilization act. • Forced sterilization of inmates in mental hospitals as well as extending to those deemed “unfit to procreate” • Consent was not always obtained by the victims/patients. The Sterilization of Leilani Muir (NFB): Answer the following questions as we watch the film: 1. Who were potential targets of the Alberta government’s Forced Sterilization Act of 1928? (Pay attention to: race, class, ability). 2. History and role of eugenics theory in Alberta’s official policy of forced sterilization: 3. Eugenics & forced sterilization in the US (year, impetus, support, im
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