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Background materials on race, gender, and justice in the gene age

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By Bhatia, Brouner, Darling, Darnovsky, Norsigian, Robinson

Submitted by Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society, United States


Plenary #1: The Social and Political Meaning of the New Genetic and Reproductive Technologies

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This packet of background materials was distributed at the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, November 13-16, 2003.

We are a small group of feminists who are deeply concerned about the potential for gender, class, disability and racial/ethnic discrimination posed by new and emerging reproductive and genetic technologies. Though these technologies are often proffered as expansions of "choice," we believe that this is a dangerously incomplete framework for understanding their social and political consequences. We are working together to promote an alternative framework based on a feminist and social justice perspective. We are excited to have the opportunity to connect with you at this conference and explore these issues further.

We have created this packet of background materials drawn from our own work and other sources, as a resource intended to help everyone explore these complex issues. The contents touch on a range of issues related to these technologies, including basic science, policy, race, gender, GLBT and disability rights. We hope that you find this material helpful, and would greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions. We hope to expand the packet as an education and action tool that can be used in a variety of contexts.

Rajani Bhatia, Committee on Women, Population and the Environment

Joelle Brouner, Communities Against Rape and Abuse and CWPE

Marsha Darling, Adelphi University and CWPE

Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society

Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies Ourselves and CWPE

Martina Robinson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Overview: Introduction, Basic Science, Policy Summary

* "Social Justice and the New Human Genetic Technologies," Center for Genetics and Society

* Michael Dorsey, "The New Eugenics," World Watch (July/August 2002)

* Patricia J. Williams, "Beauty and the Beast," GeneWatch (Vol. 14, No. 1, January 2001)

* The Basic Science: Human Cloning and Inheritable Genetic Modification

* National Policies Governing New Technologies of Human Genetic Modification: A Preliminary Survey

Race and Gender

* Dorothy E. Roberts, "Race and the New Reproduction," GeneWatch(Vol. 14, No. 1, January 2001)

* Nadine Gordimer, "A New Racism," World Watch (July/August 2002)

* Judith Levine, "What Genetic Modification Means for Women," World Watch (July/August 2002)

* Implications of the New Genetic and Reproductive Technologies for the GLBT Community

Disability Rights

* Rayna Rapp and Faye Ginsburg, "Standing at the Crossroads of Genetic Testing: New Eugenics, Disability Consciousness, and Women's Work," GeneWatch (Vol. 15, No. 1, January 2002)

* Ruth Hubbard, "Childbearing in the Age of Biotechnology," GeneWatch (Vol. 14, No. 4, July 2001)

* "Disabled People Speak on the New Genetics," Disabled Peoples' International Europe

Sex Selection and Embryo Screening

* Fact sheet: "Sex Selection: New Technologies, New Forms of Gender Discrimination," Rajani Bhatia, Rupsa Mallik, and Shamita Das Dasgupta (2003)

* Rajani Bhatia, "Taking a Stand Against Sex Selection," Political Environments (Spring 2002)

* Tania Simoncelli, "Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis and Selection: From Disease Prevention to Customized Conception," Different Takes (Spring 2003)