1st Edition

The Criminalization of a Woman's Body

By Clarice Feinman Copyright 1992
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    This groundbreaking book addresses the ominous trend of introducing and passing laws and court decisions regulating the actions of women and the control of their bodies. One of the few books published on the criminalization of women’s bodies, this timely book takes a serious look at the effect these laws would have on women and the threat to their autonomy, privacy, and control; their bodily integrity; control over reproductive capacities; and their constitutional rights. From ancient literature to the literature and law of contemporary society, a woman’s value has often rested on her fulfilling expected roles as wife and mother. The lack of respect for women inherent in this predominantly male-oriented line of thinking is reinforced in this new trend of legislation and court decisions attempting to regulate women’s behavior and reproductive capacity.

    The Criminalization of a Woman’s Body thoroughly discusses these special laws governing women’s personal choices and the threats these laws and court decisions pose to women’s autonomy and constitutional rights. Scholars from Israel, Italy, and the United States provide a multidimensional discussion of the problem facing women in many, if not all, countries. Contributors represent various disciplines including, law, philosophy, medicine, political science, sociology, women’s studies, and criminal justice. Articles analyze sensitive issues surrounding abortion and its impending criminalization in several countries; controversial topics on contract motherhood; the power of administrative agencies to control and informally criminalize pregnant women and new mothers; policies meant to protect the fetus from pregnant women who deviate from medically, socially, and legally sanctioned behavior which may deter women from seeking any medical care; and the destruction of families due to the criminalization of pregnant women and new mothers and the consequent removal of their children and placement into foster care. Professors, students, librarians, agency workers dealing with women’s issues, and women and men in the general public will find this important book a helpful tool in sorting through the complex issues on criminalizing women’s bodies.

    Contents Introduction
    • Abortion Approval as a Ritual of Symbolic Control
    • Decriminalization or Legalization? The Abortion Debate in Italy
    • Unwanted Pregnancy, Due Process of Law, and Justice White
    • Contract Motherhood: Social Practice in Social Context
    • Surrogate Motherhood and the Morality of Care
    • Prenatal Harm as Child Abuse?
    • Punishment and Welfare: Crack Cocaine and the Regulation of Mothering
    • Women and Fetus: The Social Construction of Conflict
    • Mothers and Children, Drugs and Crack: Reactions to Maternal Drug Dependency
    • Reference Notes Included


    Feinman, Clarice