The Politics of “Choice”: Canadian Feminism and the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies

Title: The Politics of “Choice”: Canadian Feminism and the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies
Authors: Daley, Tanya Dawn
Date: 2011
Abstract: The Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies developed rapidly in Canada after the birth of world’s first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, in 1978. Canadian feminists, propelled by the women’s health movement, perceived these technologies as a threat to women’s control over their bodies, the gains made to redefine the identity “woman” against the biological tradition of “mother,” and against the safety and freedom of women based on race, disability and class. In response to the lobby efforts of the women’s movement under the Canadian Coalition for a Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, the Mulroney government established a commission in 1989 to study the medical, legal, and social implications these technologies would have on Canadian society. Through a qualitative analysis of manuscript and printed sources, this thesis explores the debate surrounding new reproductive technologies (NRTs) before and after the mandate of the Royal Commission (1989 to 1993). It discusses the views and positions of some of the key stakeholders such as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, the Canadian Medical Association, the DisAbled Women’s Network, as well as adds the voice of infertile women through the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. This thesis also examines the controversy and discontent created by the Commission’s dismissal of several members, by the management’s style of its Chair, and by the final report’s narrow scope. In the end, the reaction to the report was one of considerable disappointment amongst all major stakeholders, starting with NAC, which claimed that its voice had not been heard. At the same time, the debate over NRTs illustrates NAC’s ongoing internal problems as it faced the challenge of “identity politics.”
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -