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A Complex Picture


P. Bindhulakshmi

RECONFIGURING REPRODUCTION: FEMINIST HEALTH PERSPECTIVES ON ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
By Sarojini N.  and Vrinda Marwah 
Zubaan, Delhi, 2014, pp. 320, Rs. 595.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 7 July 2016

This edited volume by N. Sarojini and Vrinda Marwah brings out a comprehensive understanding of the political economy of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The debate on ART shows a very complex picture; on the one side, marketed as pro-women technology— often projecting it as helping women to fulfill their desire to be mothers—it also invokes questions of violence and control on women’s bodies, on the other. Any discussions on ART would navigate through this complex and paradoxical set of realities where women’s bodies are the sites for various negotiations with market, medical technologies, and ideologies. Betsy Hartmann raises certain fundamental questions of ART and argues for a feminist politics to engage with the market. Hartmann’s essay takes us through the paradox of ART—both bio-deterministic and expansive and brings out the intersections of gender, inequality and sexuality. This chapter touches upon various questions but do not dwell much on it. That, perhaps, would be the limitations of an edited volume on such a complex issue. Sarah Sexton’s essay engages with bio-economy. She compares ART and biogenetics with speculative market economy. The ART industry gambles with human needs and desires, like speculative capital, without necessarily fulfilling the needs of individuals. Sexton’s constant comparison with global financial market exposes the dangers of reproductive tourism under the close monitoring of neo-liberalism. The next few essays in the volume emerge from the specific regional contexts to give the readers an overarching view of reproductive technologies in different regions of the world and long-term feminist health initiatives in these regions. This provides us with the understanding of the diverse feminist health politics and their negotiations with government, state, medicines, and markets. Citing the specific context of Australia and reflecting from Renate Klein’s long term activism opposing reproductive technologies, one chapter brings in the role of women’s health movement in Australia in reshaping reproductive technologies. The next chapter places in an ideal sequence following Klein’s essay focusing on the Indian context. India is fast emerging as one of the most privatized health care sector in the world, with the entry of corporate health sector, the population who would really purchase health care remains small. The entry of medical tourism makes this picture even more alarming. Coupled with the state’s withdrawal from the obligation to provide access to affordable health care to all, the essay by Sarojini ...


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