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Nobody puts Baby in the container: The foetal container model at work in medicine and commercial surrogacy

Nobody puts Baby in the container: The foetal container model at work in medicine and commercial surrogacy
Nobody puts Baby in the container: The foetal container model at work in medicine and commercial surrogacy
This article argues that a particular metaphysical model permeates cultural practices surrounding pregnancy: the foetal container model. Widespread uncritical reliance on this view of pregnancy has been highly detrimental to women’s liberty and reproductive autonomy. In this article, I extend existing critiques of the medical treatment of pregnant women to the context of the burgeoning commercial surrogacy industry. In doing so, I aim to show that our philosophical analysis in both spheres is constrained by the presupposition that the foetus and pregnant woman are metaphysically and ethically distinct entities. By exploring the similarities and differences between the expectations placed on pregnant women in these two spheres, I show that the foetal container model is not a homogeneous understanding of pregnancy applied consistently across contexts; rather, it has been used to justify various practices and attitudes toward pregnancy and pregnant women through different moral frameworks, in the service of different overarching aims.
0264-3758
Baron, Teresa
6cb59f4e-779b-43c2-b260-f6142b965984
Baron, Teresa
6cb59f4e-779b-43c2-b260-f6142b965984

Baron, Teresa (2018) Nobody puts Baby in the container: The foetal container model at work in medicine and commercial surrogacy. Journal of Applied Philosophy. (doi:10.1111/japp.12336).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article argues that a particular metaphysical model permeates cultural practices surrounding pregnancy: the foetal container model. Widespread uncritical reliance on this view of pregnancy has been highly detrimental to women’s liberty and reproductive autonomy. In this article, I extend existing critiques of the medical treatment of pregnant women to the context of the burgeoning commercial surrogacy industry. In doing so, I aim to show that our philosophical analysis in both spheres is constrained by the presupposition that the foetus and pregnant woman are metaphysically and ethically distinct entities. By exploring the similarities and differences between the expectations placed on pregnant women in these two spheres, I show that the foetal container model is not a homogeneous understanding of pregnancy applied consistently across contexts; rather, it has been used to justify various practices and attitudes toward pregnancy and pregnant women through different moral frameworks, in the service of different overarching aims.

Text
JAPP final version - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 September 2020.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 6 July 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 August 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423877
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423877
ISSN: 0264-3758
PURE UUID: 1552be92-b1df-45fc-8ea8-9fc8ad78b408

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Date deposited: 03 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:09

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Contributors

Author: Teresa Baron

University divisions

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