Who Should Choose?

As part of this unit, we have studied the role health – and particularly reproductive health – plays in issues of gender & society.  Many times, such as in Angela Davis’s work on race inequality in reproductive health and the film “The Business of Being Born”, we have questioned influences that affect an individual’s reproductive rights.

However, as is typical for me in this class, I question whether anyone has the right to influence another’s decision.  This question is especially important when thinking of reproductive health.  It is obviously wrong to endanger your child, but is an elective C-section to be looked down on any more or less than a home birth? Why is it so difficult for society to present the options to an individual concerning reproductive rights and then let the individual make a personal decision?

As with many topics in gender and society, it is obvious that a cultural shift must come first, no matter how difficult its implementation will be.

Angela Davis, “Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights” (1981)

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2 thoughts on “Who Should Choose?

  1. emzev

    In your discussion on choice and specifically birthing choices you end by posing the question “why is it so difficult for society to present the options to an individual concerning reproductive rights and then let the individual make a personal decision?” I think the difficulty of making a “personal decision” is the fact that the decision is never personal. The decision, consciously or unconsciously, stems from both the person presenting the choice’s own biases toward the choice and the individual making the choice’s inability to remain objective to the value society places on each option. Even when someone, like a doctor, tries to stay as objective as possible when presenting someone with choices, it is impossible to avoid revealing one’s own personal opinion. Although a documentary could technically attempt to present an objective view on the pros and cons of natural and cesarean births, who the director chooses to interview, the tone, style, and even cinematography all culminate to affect the viewers perception of birthing styles. In addition to media, peers, parents, and teachers all play a pivotal role in forming an individual’s opinion.

    So when someone is asked what they would like to do, natural or cesarean birth, in an ideal world they would make a choice free from society’s judgment and opinion. But,in reality, that person, inevitably, will look back and think about what their mothers did, what their best friend chose to do, what the doctor seems to think is best and take into account what value is placed on home births compared to hospital births.

    Reply
    1. emzev

      I agree with you in the sense that optimally, it is wrong how in many cases individuals, specifically women, are hindered from making their own personal choices because society is constantly placing value on decisions, dictating wether or not a choice is “wrong” or “right”. I do think people have a right to voice their opinions but I do not think that that should inhibit someone else from making their own.

      In your discussion on choice and specifically birthing choices you end by posing the question “why is it so difficult for society to present the options to an individual concerning reproductive rights and then let the individual make a personal decision?” I think the difficulty of making a “personal decision” is the fact that the decision is never personal. The decision, consciously or unconsciously, stems from both the person presenting the choice’s own biases toward the choice and the individual making the choice’s inability to remain objective to the value society places on each option. Even when someone, like a doctor, tries to stay as objective as possible when presenting someone with choices, it is impossible to avoid revealing one’s own personal opinion. Although a documentary could technically attempt to present an objective view on the pros and cons of natural and cesarean births, who the director chooses to interview, the tone, style, and even cinematography all culminate to affect the viewers perception of birthing styles. In addition to media, peers, parents, and teachers all play a pivotal role in forming an individual’s opinion.

      So when someone is asked what they would like to do, natural or cesarean birth, in an ideal world they would make a choice free from society’s judgment and opinion. But,in reality, that person, inevitably, will look back and think about what their mothers did, what their best friend chose to do, what the doctor seems to think is best and take into account what value is placed on home births compared to hospital births.

      Reply

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