the pregnant body politic

cross posted at the exponent

i’m a grad student in a public administration program and a term we often use is “the body politic”, meaning a collective group of people organized under a governmental authority. i’ve been thinking about this concept in terms of what it means to be a pregnant individual and part of a society since i am currently pregnant with my third child.

pregnancy is full of complexities, mostly personal in nature. but pregnancy is one of those times when the personal intersects with the public. not only do you cease to consider yourself merely an individual due to the presence of another, but the community also ceases to see you as an individual. on some level i can understand this; pregnant women quite literally represent the continuation of our society, we are the lifeblood of the body politic. it is no surprise that others have an interest in the welfare of the next generation. but should pregnant women be asked to set aside their privacy and at times, their autonomy, to ease the fears of society? some would say yes, evidenced by the broad legislation utah passed last year that would prosecute women for reckless behavior resulting in a miscarriage. as the one being asked to set aside the self for the good of society, it is much harder to willingly comply. Read the rest of this entry »