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Article

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Abstract

From birth control and abortion to in vitro fertilization and genetic enhancement, reproductive technologies are furnishing Americans not only with new modes of control over sexual and reproductive choice, but also with new sites for cultural conflict. The flare-up over the HPV vaccine provides a recent and typical example, with adversaries quickly and intuitively taking up sides in the debate. The conventional representation of this conflict focuses on particular constituencies: the feminist community's embrace of women's right to maximize their reproductive options and Christian conservatives' claims of Biblical prohibition against some of those same choices. Kristin Luker's Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood is a cornerstone in this argument, and it firmly established the feminist-Christian nexus as the key to understanding societal conflict over reproductive technology in the United States. Other works have followed in a similar vein, identifying particular social groups as framing or exploiting reproductive technology choices for their own rhetorical or moral purposes. This account-call it the traditional account-is one of open cultural combat between individuals with competing visions of the good society.

Date of Authorship for this Version

2008

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