Reproductive Technologies

The article, “Race, Gender and Genetic Technologies: A New Reproductive
Dystopia?”, written by Roberts, Dorothy E discusses the social and
racial issues that surround reprogenetics and other technologies, which
are similar, in the United States. One of the key highlights of this
article is that the cost of reproductive technology in humans is usually
too high such that the minority women cannot afford. This makes the
minority women encouraged in not having children. The article highlights
such practices as a form of eugenics as described by Marsha Darling, an
African American studies scholar. The article also discusses views
regarding genetic testing of fetuses by the medical personnel.
It asserts that, as the welfare reform laws are aiming at discouraging
women from receiving public assistance in having even one additional
healthy baby, unregulated fertility clinics regularly implant the
privileged women with several embryos, knowing well the high risk posed
by multiple births for low birth weight and premature delivery (Roberts,
2009). Another argument raised by this article concerns the issue of
infant mortality rate the infant mortality rates among black people are
more than twice that of the whites. This is due to the use of the
multi-billion dollar apparatus that technologically facilitate
procreation decisions of the rich couples (Roberts, 2009). The
insinuations of incorporating women of color in the promotion of
reprogenetic technologies are also highlighted by the article as a key
issue. A finding in the article is that, population control programs and
genetic selection technologies support biological explanations for
social setbacks and place reproductive blame on women therefore,
privatize cures for illness and social inequity. The ideology of
population control attributes social inequities to childbearing by poor
black women, which legitimize punitive laws of these women’s
reproductive decisions. Besides, the article is of the argument that
through identifying procreation as the reason for unacceptable social
conditions, reproductive punishments distract attention from state
responsibility and the need for social adjustment. Just like punishments
for poor women’s childbearing, reprogenetics also transfers liability
for promoting well-being from the government to the individual through
making women accountable for genetic fitness of their kids. Therefore,
the individual woman becomes the site of governance via self-regulation
of genetic risk (Roberts, 2009).
According to the article, reproductive health policies that involve
women at opposite ends of the reproductive hierarchy play a vital role
in the transfer of neoliberal state of services from the welfare state
into the private realm of family and the market. The article argues that
the recent development of race-based biomedicine and reproductive
genetic screening has signaled the importance of genetic screening and
has supported the spread of genetic study to persons of color. The
article is of the opinion that blood screening and ultrasound help in
identifying around 90% of babies having chromosome abnormalities
(Roberts, 2009). Besides, contemporary reproductive dystopias should not
categorically exclude women of color from their imagined users of
genetic selection technologies. The development of race-based
technology, genetic selection inclusive, fits within the neoliberal
trend towards privatization and punitive governance and requires
changing feminist reproductive dystopias. The article further analyzes
the importance of developing genetic research and technologies the
article argues that the expansion of genetic research and technologies
has aided in the creating of new biological citizenship, which enlists
patients in taking unprecedented authority over their health at the
molecular level (Roberts, 2009).
Roberts, E.D. (2009). Race, Gender, and Genetic Technologies: A New
Reproductive Dystopia? Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society,
Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 783-804.

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