Perfect Babies Book Report

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The assigned readings for today included chapters 3 and 4 of the book “Reconstructing Motherhood and Disability in the Age of ‘Perfect’ Babies”. The third chapter of the book is a discussion of the idea of “personhood”, and how disability affects personhood in babies with disabilities (Landsman, 2009). The fourth chapter is a discussion of parental diagnosis, the perceived infallibility of doctors, and denial vs. hopeful outlooks (Landsman, 2009). Based on what I have learned about personhood in other courses, it is the idea that a fetus should be prescribed the right to live, like any other “person”. Personhood laws originally came into being to protect pregnant women and their growing fetus from domestic violence/physical abuse. Common knowledge of a particularly grizzly case in which a woman suffering from mental illness attacked a pregnant woman and cut her open in an attempt to steal her baby is said to have been a driving force behind these laws. Much of the controversy that has arisen since is due to the use of personhood laws to arrest and convict mothers who,…show more content…
I find the fact that personhood laws could be so easily twisted to criminalize poor and minority women incredibly frustrating. However, after reading the third chapter of “Reconstructing Motherhood”, I have found myself questioning some of my pro-choice beliefs. Landsman writes “…within the culture there are gradations of personhood, with (dis)ability a criterion for determining a child’s level of personhood…” (Landsman, 2009). I think this is something that the general public never really considers. As stated in the book, many of the pro-choice use disability as an argument in the case for abortion (Landsman, 2009). Is that really a justifiable argument? There is an immense difference between aborting a child because they will not live past birth and aborting a child because they have
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