Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 11, Issue 1, Summer 2004

Feminist Apporoaches to the Body

Rosemarie Tong
Pages 67-76

Out-of-Body Gestation
In Whose Best Interests?

This article revisits the question of ectogenesis (out-of-body gestation) as our neonatal care and biogenetic technologies bring us closer to the possibility. In 1923, J.B.S. Haldane wrote approvingly of ectogenesis as a eugenic technique, using a science fiction format. In the 1970s and 1980s, feminists debated whether ectogenesis, if possible, would be liberating or oppressive for women. Given current legal and bioethical issues, we must now take seriously the possible costs of ectogenesis: the possibility of growing bodies for use as spare parts, the erosion of the autonomy of women in the reproductive process, the denigration of the body through the loss of the physicality of pregnancy and childbirth. (Abstract prepared by Aaron Lee.)

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