Coerced Contraception?: Moral and Policy Challenges of Long-Acting Birth Controlby Ellen H. Moskowitz (Editor), Bruce Jennings (Editor)
Long-acting and reversible contraceptives, such as Norplant and Depo-Provera, have been praised as highly effective, moderately priced, and generally safe. Yet, as this book argues, the very qualities that make these contraceptives an important alternative for individual choice in family planning also make them a potential tool of coercive social policy. For
Long-acting and reversible contraceptives, such as Norplant and Depo-Provera, have been praised as highly effective, moderately priced, and generally safe. Yet, as this book argues, the very qualities that make these contraceptives an important alternative for individual choice in family planning also make them a potential tool of coercive social policy. For example, policymakers have linked their use to welfare benefits, and judges, to probation agreements. In this book, authors from the fields of medicine, ethics, law, and the social sciences probe the unique and vexing ethical and policy issues raised by long-acting contraception.
The book offers comprehensive ethical guidelines for health care professionals and policymakers, as well as an ethical framework for analyzing policies and practices concerning long-acting contraceptives. The authors consider cultural, social, and ethical issues pertaining to contraception, and they provide historical and scientific background on today's controversies. They explore alternative conceptual and theoretical frameworks, including analyses of autonomy, coercion, and responsibility in reproductive decisions. This volume also notes the special concerns that arise when policies promoting long-term birth control target low-income women and women of color, and when these contraceptives are used in developing countries.
Description: Focusing on long-acting contraceptives such as Norplant, Depo Provera, and variations of intrauterine devices, this edited collection of essays is an outgrowth of a two-year project initiated by the Hastings Center and is one of a series of books that focus upon ethical issues in medicine and the life sciences. Essays are written by noted scholars with multidisciplinary backgrounds and perspectives.
Purpose: This volume is intended to identify the many problematic moral and policy issues associated with long-acting contraceptives and to critically assess the formidable challenges they pose.
Audience: Although intended primarily for medical ethicists, this work would also be of interest to healthcare professionals, scholars, and persons concerned about advancements in contraception.
Features: Divided into four distinctive parts, section 1 offers the report and recommendations of the Center's project participants. Consisting of two essays, section 2 provides background concerning the scientific aspects and historical development of contraceptive technologies. Focusing on theoretical concepts such as autonomy, responsibility, and coercion, the five essays in section 3 offer commentary from philosophical and social perspectives. Consisting of three essays, section 4 focuses on the concerns contraceptive advancements raise in developing countries as well as the significance cultural differences hold in this context.
Assessment: This work offers a comprehensive exploration of contraceptive advancements. Although these advances promise greater reproductive freedom and convenience, they also raise numerous considerations that contributors address, including the various ends for which they are used and the role that culture, race, gender, and power play in their practice. Well-written, insightful, and thought-provoking, contributors offer arguments well deserving of critical consideration. Given its comprehensive approach, multidisciplinary perspectives, and richness of the ideas and arguments advanced, this work makes an important and worthwhile contribution to the scholarly literature.
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