Men’s Role in Reproduction
In a review of the book Reproductive Justice: A Global Concern edited by Joan Chrisler, Abigail J. Stewart calls attention to the book's focus on "women's agency in making decisions and choices" related to reproduction, as well as "the social and economic constraints on those choices." Many of the papers in the edited volume cover issues that are associated with women's issues in non-Western nations including female genital cutting, female feticide and infanticide, and sex trafficking. Stewart states that the papers in the edited volume are "valuable and clarifying resources for discussions in U.S. classrooms that are often filled with confusion and distress" when these practices are viewed from a lens lacking cultural respect.
This seemed like a good book to facilitate an examination of women's reproduction in a global context, then I caught myself: The United States is a part of this global context. Sex trafficking takes place in the United States, although we spend little time discussing this exploitation of women and girls. Stewart's review led me to think about recent discussions of mandated insurance coverage for birth control and the ongoing debate over abortion in the United States. When was the last time there was nonacrimonious public discussion of the "broader relational and temporal context of pregnancy and childbirth" in the United States? Some feel that women's reproductive rights are more secure in the United States, but perhaps we, in the United States, have as much at stake in this global discussion of reproductive justice as women and men living in other countries.
How do we make these men's issues as much as they are women's issues? Do the moral positions that inevitably affect the framework for discussions about reproduction ensure that the divisiveness observed in other political debates in the United States will persist here as well?
By Abigail J. Stewart
PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(43)