Sosa-Riddell, Adaljiza. “The Bioethics of Reproductive Techonolgies: Impacts and Implications for Latinas.” In Chicana Critical Issues, 183–96. Berkeley, CA: Third Women Press, 1993.
In this chapter Sosa-Riddell discusses how women of color, and Chicanas/Latinas in particular, are excluded from participating in the public discourse about reproductive technologies, despite being both historical and contemporary subjects of such debates. Through an overview of the historical context in which government and society attempted to control their fertility and an analysis of the mutually disempowering role of patriarchy, the author aims to inform Chicanas/Latinas about the major issues involved in debates over reproductive technologies and encourage them to research and actively engage in such debates.
The author defines reproductive technologies as “all forms of biomedical interventions and help a woman may encounter when she considers having or not having a child,” and draws on historical documentation of cases in which Chicanas/Latinas were used as test subjects for such technology, including both subtle and blatant sterilization and its role in the eugenics movement. She also draws on demographic data of Chicana/Latina employment and socioeconomic status in the United States to demonstrate how both of these heighten their risk for “reproductive victimization.” She then goes on to point out that the same issues will continue to persist for Chicanas/Latinas with new reproductive technologies as with the old – namely, that they will be used to control their fertility rather than overcome their infertility – because of the institutionalized racism, ethnocentrism, persistent poverty and higher fertility rates these women still face. So long as these issues of class, race and gender persist, she argues, so does the potential for the abuse of reproductive technologies. The author concludes by calling on the Chicano/Latino community to “pay close attention” to policy, research and activism regarding reproductive technologies.