Week 13 Day 2 Question 3

In the Preface to Policing the Womb, Michele Goodwin writes:

Why does Goodwin find such laws problematic? What do you think of such laws? For example, should otherwise legal conduct such as smoking, drinking, and refusing bed rest be criminalized?

3 thoughts on “Week 13 Day 2 Question 3

  • May 15, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Goodwin along with myself find issue with these criminalization’s not on the basis of disputing whether or not consuming drugs and alcohol has a negative impact on a child in the womb. But rather on the basis that the legal system is searching for laws which restrict and limit of freedom of women. Rather than criminalizing these acts there should be prevention and education for all surrounding addiction/substance abuse and pregnancy rather than criminalizing women who should have freedom over their own bodies. There is something very unsettling over the criminalization of pregnant women who “do not property take care of their baby in the womb”. Rather than criminalization, greater education and supportive services should be a focus. Why are we criminalizing our women instead of helping our women?

  • May 10, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    The laws as mentioned above are a prime example of policing women’s bodies and dictating their behaviors and habits. Goodwin does not dispute that acts such as smoking and alcohol can negatively impact an unborn child, she rather proposes the idea that legislature such as maternal conduct laws hold their basis and roots in unjust profiles of race and class. As with the rest of ‘Policing the Womb’, Goodwin argues that the laws themselves, whom they affect, and they way they are enforced will often do more harm than good all while impacting women in the minority category to a larger extent. Ultimately, I believe that such laws should not be in place – it is no ones place to instruct, force or demand an individual to do anything, let alone something against their will. I also believe there is a value in education – Goodwin also states that sexual education programs are often suppressed by lawmakers, thus robbing those affected of the information they may need or want to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Goodwin goes onto provide the important thesis that the health of the baby and the mother is far more than just smoking or drinking while pregnant – access to fair, affordable and safe care is often a right only experienced by the privileged and thus this issue is worthy of consideration and significant change.

    • May 11, 2022 at 12:50 pm

      “Penalties now include criminal and civil incarceration for miscarriage and stillbirth as well as punishments for behaviours percieved to threaten fetal health”. This quotation really sruck me and I think it speaks to a lot of what Daniyal has been discussing. Similar to our conversation about sexual assault, there is a tendency to punish an act rather than proactively avoid the situation. Similar to the extension of child abuse legislaiton, it seems as though there is a willingness to punish wrongdoing without addressing the root causes. The cost associating with supporting to-be mothers, specifically those involved in problematic activities in the past, once again highlights an imbalance in responsibility. While women are expected to be responsible to the state when it comes to the healthy birth of their child, the state is fairly free from responsibilities concerning supporting mothers in difficult situaitons– yet another example of whether legislation fails to empathize with the complexities of female life outside of childcare.

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