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Feminist Bioethics

, 328 pages
February 2010



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Feminist Bioethics

At the Center, on the Margins

This volume considers the place of feminist bioethics within the broader international bioethics community.

Since its emergence two decades ago, the feminist perspective on bioethics has existed at the periphery of the discipline's mainstream. Concerns over reproduction and women's health issues—along with the concept that prevailing bioethical thought was fundamentally gendered—were largely subsumed by such overarching issues as the protection of research subjects and by theoretical and methodological frameworks derived from Kantian philosophy and practice-oriented principalism. Now feminist bioethics belongs to both the mainstream and the margins. The essays collected here explore the relation of feminist bioethics to mainstream bioethical thought and practice.

The first section looks at the current trajectory of feminist bioethics, its contributions to the mainstream, and how different types of feminism can inform and strengthen feminist bioethics. In the second section, contributors address autonomy, universalism, and trust to probe how feminist perspectives have altered bioethical theory. The third section examines such challenging issues as cancer genetics, childbirth, rape, and prenatal selection to demonstrate the effect of feminist bioethics on mainstream methodology. Contributors to the fourth section reflect on the relationship between feminist bioethical thought and the viewpoints of racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities, including people with disabilities.

Philosophically grounded, methodologically sound, and theoretically rigorous, this paradigm-challenging collection ponders the most dynamic areas of feminist inquiry into bioethical thought and practice and sketches future directions for this rapidly growing field.

Jackie Leach Scully, Ph.D., is a reader in social and bioethics at Newcastle University, where she is the director of research with the Policy, Ethics, and Life Sciences Research Centre. She is an honorary senior lecturer in the University of Sydney's Faculty of Medicine. Laurel E. Baldwin-Ragaven, M.D.C.M., is medical and executive director of the Malta House of Care in Hartford, Connecticut. Petya Fitzpatrick, M.A., is a health care researcher with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University.

"The bite-sized accessible chapters would be useful in undergraduate or graduate courses as a source of readings, research, and presentation topics."

"This collection successfully demonstrates that feminist bioethics has pushed bioethical questions beyond the doctor-patient relationship, and the articles in this volume serve as evidence of the influence feminist bioethics has on mainstream bioethics."

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