It would be easy, in the present climate, to get the idea that the ethics of reproductive choice begins and ends with deciding which of the two (count ‘em, two) available positions on abortion one is going to take. The high visibility, high stakes, yes-or-no discourse around abortion caricatures the actual practical, complex and profound ethical demands women and men face in making reproductive choices. These begin, not needless to say, with whether or not to engage in reproductive activity at all – which presupposes, but isn’t identical with, the decision to engage in specific forms of sexual activity – and run through all the choices people face in the course of pursuing or fleeing the concrete demands of becoming the progenitors, the biological mothers and fathers, of other human beings. The decision to continue, or terminate, a pregnancy that has already begun is only one of these choices, though it is arguably the most politicized of these choices. [For instance, whether to regulate infertility treatment options has not become a litmus test for judicial appointments, and pundits almost never solicit a candidate’s position on funding basic research to improve male contraceptive options.]
The Women’s Center has recently begun to devote more of its programming and reflective resources to the overarching issue of reproductive choice. This renewed interest reflects both a growing interest in issues surrounding the large issue of reproductive choice on the LPTS campus, and our growing recognition of the way reproductive choice is implicated in almost every issue of significance to women.
[Reproductive choice, for instance, depends initially on education and the liberation of women’s and men’s minds from ignorance. Something as basic as literacy – of which rates all over the world vary systematically by sex – plays a part in reproductive choice. A woman who can’t read an informative pamphlet, or the directions and warnings on a bottle of medication, already faces a significant limitation on her reproductive choices.]
This week, the Women’s Center again turns its attention to the matter of reproductive choice, as Dr. Johanna Van-Wijk Bos will be the keynote speaker at the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice’s annual Roe v. Wade celebration dinner. Complete details and a schedule of the event are available here.
We await Dr. Bos’s talk with interest. We’re also looking forward to going beyond the binary agenda set by contemporary public discourse and thinking more deeply over the course of the next several months about the meaning of reproductive choice, in its full scope, for women.