Living incubators: arguing for pregnant women's autonomy and bodily integrity in an age of ever-increasing reproductive technology

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University of Alabama Libraries

In this thesis I evaluate the medicalization of birthing bodies through the use of reproductive technologies. This thesis argues that the best solution for ensuring the bodily integrity and autonomy of pregnant and birthing people is through midwife-assisted births. Midwifery provides a compelling opportunity to subvert and challenge the medical-industrial complex and its invasive reproductive technologies, which extend beyond the hospital to promote socio-political and cultural ideologies surrounding the bodies of pregnant women and other pregnant subjects. I argue that elements of a do-it-yourself (DIY) feminist consciousness present in the practice of midwifery makes midwives uniquely positioned to encourage and sustain ethical embodied communities. Within these communities pregnant and birthing people are provided opportunities for autonomy, and, thus, midwives and the choice to employ them play a vital role in the establishment of reproductive justice for all.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Women's studies