Prenatal politics: fetal surgery, abortion and disability rights in the United States


TUNÇ T. E.

NEW BIOETHICS-A MULTIDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE BODY, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/20502877.2021.1981043
  • Title of Journal : NEW BIOETHICS-A MULTIDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE BODY
  • Keywords: Fetal Surgery, Disability Rights, Abortion, Prenatal Politics, United States, TECHNOLOGY, ATTITUDES, FEMINISM

Abstract

While fetal surgery-and pregnancy termination as a possible therapeutic alternative-have been examined in a number of studies, very few have addressed the issues tensions that arise when prenatal surgery is considered from the standpoint of Disability Studies. This article will expose these concerns by tracing the medical development of fetal surgery; the arguments for and against prenatal surgery; and the connections between fetal surgery, abortion, and disability rights. Like other dimensions of the life cycle that involve reproduction, prenatal surgery has become highly politicized in the United States which has, to a certain extent, stalled critical discussion. However, the skepticism with which many disability rights advocates and policymakers approach prenatal medical intervention in general has opened a new space for active debate concerning fetal surgery in terms of how it medicalizes pregnancy, pathologizes diversity, contributes to the valuation of life, and emphasizes 'perfect babies' at any cost.