Synopses & Reviews
Heart-wrenching, high-profile court cases such as the Baby M case have called attention to the troubling consequences of new reproductive technology; the law has yet to catch up with the ways that people create families today. Although these times may appear chaotic and confusing, Mary Shanley shows us that we don't have to be afraid. Her timely work begins by demonstrating that the traditional model of the "natural," patriarchal family is outdated, and that the newer contractual model based on equality between adults can lead to questionable results for the child.
Shanley offers a new vision of family law that's based on existing caring relationships of adults for children. It ensures each child's right to be cared for, and takes into account the emotional realities of family life. She applies this practical, humane model to the most complex and controversial issues of our time, including adoption, biological fathers' legal rights, surrogate motherhood, lesbian families, and the rights of sperm and egg donors and recipients.
"In this impressive study of family law's uneasiness with custody rights, Shanley explores how dominant notions of family (in which the primary partners are married, heterosexual and of the same race) have contributed to legal rulings on adoption and surrogacy....Shanley's discussion of transracial adoptions and the controversial role of race in shaping custody rights is evenhanded and riveting, as is her critique of surrogacy-for-pay and the sale of genetic material. Readers may be surprised that the U.S. is the only Western country that doesn't restrict human ova sales, and that France doesn't pay sperm donors. This critically sophisticated yet readilyaccessible discussion of adoption, reproductive technology and parental responsibility represents a much-needed addition to the growing number of books on new forms of family in the 21st century." --Publishers Weekly
"Making Babies, Making Families takes on all the hard q
Thanks to new reproductive technologies and new ways of forming families, the world of parenting is opening up as never before. What defines a legal family? Should there be any restrictions on buying and selling eggs and sperm, or hiring "surrogate mothers"? How many parents can a child have?
While there's no going back to the traditional family, Mary Lyndon Shanley shows us that we don't have to live in moral chaos. She offers a new vision of family law that puts each child's right to be cared for at its center, while also taking into account the complex needs of every family member.
About the Author
Mary Lyndon Shanley is professor of political science at Vassar College. She is author of Feminism, Marriage, and the Law in Victorian England and coeditor of Feminist Interpretations and Political Theory and Reconstructing Political Theory.