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Deliberation Across the Cultural Divide: Assessing the Potential for Reconciling Conflicting Cultural Orientations to Reproductive Technology (with John Gastill et al.), 76 George Washington Law Review 1772 (2008)


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.

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