Reproductive rights article guide

by Olivia Espinoza
(UMass student majoring in Social Thought & Political Economy, 2013)


Vol. 2 (1970), #4, pg 28 – "Birth Control in Amerika" – Arditti, Huga, Kneen

“Birth Control in Amerika” argues that birth control methods are an invasion of women’s reproductive rights by those in a higher caste, namely male doctors, scientists, and government agencies. It emphasizes the paradox of sexual responsibility being placed on women and society’s expectancy for women to be dependent on men psychologically, physically, and materially. Furthermore, the article provides “reasons” for the lack of male contraceptives and the dangers of birth control for women. “Birth Control in Amerika” makes various proposals for the responsibility of birth control to be shared by a man and a woman, such as the end of birth control experimentation, the establishment of free and legal abortion clinics, and the development of male contraceptives.

Vol. 4 (1972), #3, pg 17 – "Using Pregnancy Tests in Hiring Discrimination or Ma Bell Rejects Pregnant Belles" – Arditti

“Using Pregnancy Tests in Hiring Discrimination” recounts a case where women were not being hired by the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies due to their early stages in pregnancy. In the article Dr. Lawrence A. Pyle Jr., General Medical director for these companies, argues that it is unfair to management if women conceal their pregnancies because time and money are being put into their training. As a result, a new technique has spread across the country where women must take a pregnancy test as part of their job application, though they are unaware that they are being tested.

Vol. 5 (1973), #4, pg 39 – “Women’s Biology in a Man’s World: Some Issues and Questions” – Arditti

“Women’s Biology in a Man’s World: Some Issues and Questions” voices the constant struggle of women under the observance of male scientists in regards to their biology, hormones, and reproductive rights. It raises questions as to why women seen as the “other” of men and why women have been primarily studied by men. The article also covers the history of scientific prejudice against women.

Vol. 9 (1977), #1, pg 17 – “Fighting Sterilization Abuse” – Herman

“Fighting Sterilization Abuse” discusses sterilization as a method of population control and its inhumane practice on women, particularly those of a low socioeconomic class. The article shares that sterilization is being pushed by the government because of the belief that a high population leads to nationwide poverty. Furthermore, doctors and those in the medical field are encouraged to push sterilization as a birth control method without telling patients that the sterilization is permanent. Lastly, the article critiques the feminist movement for their slow response to this issue.

Vol. 12 (1980), #6, pg 9 – “Is a Fetus a Person?” – Donovan

“Is a Fetus a Person?” discusses differing views between religious sources and scientific sources on whether or not a fetus is a person. The article implies that by considering a fetus to be a person, women are burdened with unwanted pregnancies, due to society’s notion that it is immoral to have abortions. Furthermore, “Is a Fetus a Person?” shares that control of abortion rights by males maintains women’s secondary status to men.

Vol. 17 (1985), #3, pg 27 – “Genetic Engineering and Human Embryos” – Minden

“Genetic Engineering and Human Embryos” shows concern that genetic engineering is becoming social and political, rather than scientific. The article tells where genetic technology stood at that point in history, what new technology had been created, and the potential dangers of it. Lastly, it calls for women to organize around this issue to ensure those are enlightened who are unaware of the dangers of advances in this field.

Vol. 19 (1987), #3, pg 22 – “’Surrogate Mothering’ Exploits Women” – Arditti

“’Surrogate Mothering’ Exploits Women” covers the deception behind surrogacy and the mistreatment of non-white or Third-World women in the process. It also discusses how to the surrogacy process is largely centered around the man, rather than the women. While a woman’s infertility may drive her to see surrogacy as an option, it is the man’s desire to continue his bloodline that makes this option a need, otherwise adoption would be seen as viable.


Vol. 19 (1987), #4, pg 5 – “New Reproductive Technologies: International Feminist Concerns” – Kanno

“New Reproductive Technologies: International Feminist Concerns” is adapted from a paper written by Kanno from her presentation at the Women, Health, and Technology Conference in 1986. It discusses the Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering (FINRRAGE), which is comprised of women from countries around the world, and their goal to bring awareness to the legal and ethical issues in current and upcoming reproductive technologies. Kanno then lists a number of countries and the reproductive technology they hold, as well as new developments in this field.

Vol. 19 (1987), #4, pg 9 – “A Womb of One’s Own: The Real Population Problem” – Hartmann

“A Womb of One’s Own: The Real Population Problem” is excerpted from a piece written by Hartmann for Harper & Row entitled Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control and Contraceptive Choice. The article begins with short stories from women around the world on struggles they have faced pertaining to their own reproductive rights. Hartmann then further discusses obstacles in women’s reproductive control and how these obstacles are factors that they are unable to manage due to the linkage of reproductive control to population control.