Synopses & Reviews
Worldwide, more than one fourth of all pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraceptives are used after sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of pregnancy and have the potential to significantly decrease the incidence of unplanned, unwanted, and mistimed pregnancy. But despite its safety and efficacy, emergency contraception continues to spark political controversy worldwide. In this edited volume, authors explore how emergency contraception has been received, interpreted, and politicized. Throughs the in-depth examination of the journey of emergency contraception in 16 individual countries, this book reveal the ways that a global reproductive health technology is inflected with local cultural meaning and simultaneously influenced by transcendent challenges that condition the introduction of a new technology.
"This project breaks new ground. Other books have looked at how science impacts gender, sexuality and reproductive issues and how it generally politicizes them. This book sets out purposefully to engage this discussion across all regions of the world. Published materials on these aspects of fertility, sexuality and medical technology are scarce. While isolated articles have been published—usually by authors included in this book—they are in scientific journals and generally narrowly written. This book opens a treasure trove of comparative data across regions, religions, and economic systems. It will contribute to a growing literature which questions old assumptions: that religion determines use of medical technology; that state control is absolute; that developed countries have more rational approaches to health technology use." —Donna Lee Bowen, professor of Political Science, Brigham Young University
"This book is the first to place emergency contraception in a comprehensively global context. It skillfully demonstrates how the reception of and messaging around this contraceptive technology is shaped by specific sociopolitical contexts. A must read for those interested in policy on women's health and birth control advocacy." —Heather Munro Prescott, author of The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States
"This is an important, timely, and accessible book that fills a significant gap in the literature on global reproductive health. In chronicling the journey of emergency contraception, this edited volume provides insights into the ways in which health care technologies can be both politicized and locally appropriated." —Tracy A. Weitz, director, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), Bixby Center, University of California, San Francisco
"This book is a fascinating look at how one of the most controversial medical technologies in recent decades was adopted in different countries. It also upsets generalizations about the effects of religious and moral ideas on contraceptive use. In the US opponents to EC conjured up images of sexual predators taking advantage of the pill to commit rape; in Latin America debate centered on the moral status of the just-fertilized egg; in some Muslim countries concerns instead focused on EC's effects on unmarried women while in others it encountered remarkably little opposition. The collection shows not just that social context alters reception of scientific technologies, but also, more provocatively, that local responses to a medical technology shape scientific research. The collection will interest social scientists, activists, health care professionals and others interested in the politics of sexual and reproductive health." - Alexander Edmonds, assistant professor of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Globally, more than one fourth of all pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraceptives are medications or devices that can be used after sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy. But despite their safety and efficacy, emergency contraceptive pills have sparked controversy worldwide. In examining the journey of emergency contraceptive pills in 14 countries and contexts, this volume explores the ways that a global reproductive health technology is inflected with local cultural meaning and simultaneously influenced by transcendent challenges that condition its introduction. These portraits of activism and opposition highlight the range of social, cultural, religious, and political contexts that shape the interpretation of new medical technologies.
About the Author
Angel M. Foster is a senior associate at Ibis Reproductive Health. She also holds the Echo Chair in Women's Health Research at the University of Ottawa, where she is an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences. A 1996 Rhodes Scholar from Oregon, she received her DPhil in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Oxford. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her AM in international policy studies from Stanford University. Her current research focuses on emergency contraception, abortion, and health professions education.
L. L. Wynn is a lecturer in the Anthropology Department at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She received her PhD in anthropology from Princeton University, where she also held two postdoctoral research positions. Her current research focuses on new reproductive health technologies in Egypt, including emergency contraception and hymenoplasty.
Table of Contents
PART I: SETTING THE CONTEXT
The birth of a global reproductive health technology: An introduction to the journey of emergency contraception; L.L.Wynn & A.M.Foster
Emergency contraception: Hopes & realities; J.Trussell
PART II: COUNTRY CASE STUDIES
United States: Activism, sexual archetypes, and the politicization of science; L.L.Wynn
Canada: Competing frames of access and authority; J.N.Erdman
Jamaica: A success story in moving to nonprescription status; D.Chin-Quee
Mexico: Expanding access through partnerships and persistence; R.Schiavon & E.Westley
Chile: One step forward, one step back; V.Schiappacasse & S.DÃaz
Britain: Contradictory messages about sexual responsibility; A.Furedi
France: A pioneer in the switch to nonprescription status; C.Moreau & E.Gainer
Tunisia: A global leader in reproductive health and rights; A.M.Foster
Lebanon: Can introduction be too quiet?; F.El-Kak
Morocco: A personal account of the introduction saga; S.Harti
Nigeria: Creating demand and increasing availability; D.A.Lang, J.Keesbury & A.S.Karlyn
Australia: Organized physician opposition to nonprescription status; H.Calabretto
Bangladesh: A model for national family planning program integration; S.M.I.Hossain & M.E.Khan
The Thailand-Burma border: Addressing needs in long-term conflict settings; C.Sietstra
PART III: CONCLUSION
The future of emergency contraception: Where are we now and where are we going?; E.Westley