Pregnancy in an age of medical technology: decisions, loss and research with a vulnerable population
Women enter pregnancy with varied levels of preparedness. Certainly, many pregnant women had not planned to become pregnant; indeed fewer than 50 per cent of all pregnancies are planned in the United States (Guttmacher Institute, 2012). Yet, the majority of women come to embrace the pregnancy and do all they can to assure the health of the pregnancy – by caring for themselves and making efforts to care for the fetus they carry. In this chapter, we will consider the way that a healthy condition, pregnancy, becomes monitored and surveilled, and what happens when a fetal anomaly is detected. We will consider how health care providers tend to respond to this situation. We will analyse how the socio-political context frames the decision to terminate a pregnancy within the context of the abortion debate (a contentious debate in many countries), and how this is in tension with views from those who are concerned about various disabilities and disability rights (Goodley and Tregaskis, 2006). We will also consider the micro-level impacts of women’s decisions and grief on the way they move forward into their futures.