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Defending biomedical authority and regulating the womb as social space : prenatal testing in the Polish press

[journal article]

Kramer, Anne-Marie

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Abstract The issue of abortion has been the topic of heated and frequent debate in post-Communist Poland. Parliamentary debate in 1998—9 centred around a legislative attempt to restrict prenatal testing, specifically amniocentesis, in order to further reduce the numbers of abortions carried out, as it was argued to inevitably result in the termination of pregnancy. Medical professionals are rarely visible as subjects of and authorities on the abortion debate in the Polish context. However, in this debate around prenatal testing, the medical community appear as key commentators and meaning-makers. This article asks the following questions: What role do the medical profession and biomedical knowledge play in the debate around prenatal testing, when abortion is highly politicized? Second, what social meanings and consequences are attributed to prenatal testing? How do these construct the relationship between foetus, pregnant woman and doctor, and what agency and 'rights' are attributed to women in the process of prenatal testing?
Classification Family Sociology, Sociology of Sexual Behavior; Medical Sociology
Free Keywords abortion; amniocentesis; medical profession; Poland; prenatal testing; reproductive politics; women
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 43-59
Journal European Journal of Women's Studies, 17 (2010) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)