Making Babies and Being Pregnant: The Debated Beginnings of Personhood
This chapter explores cross-cultural variation in understandings of personhood via conception and pregnancy. The significance and meaning of biology and the body are not universally agreed on in regard to these events. Instead, this chapter demonstrates how conception and pregnancy are shaped by multiple social, cultural, and historical factors in ways that inflect (and are inflected by) notions of personhood and when personhood of the unborn might be said to emerge. Explored here are also critical issues around the nature of the relationship between gestating mother and foetus, debates over foetal personhood, and the role of technological developments like foetal ultrasounds in those debates.
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