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Feminist Bioethics

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.