With advancements in resuscitative and reproductive technologies, it is now possible to sustain a pregnancy in a brain-dead body for weeks or months at a time. Legal and bioethical reflections on these "postmortem pregnancies" have rarely focused on the technoscientific aspects of the phenomenon, including the declaration of brain death itself.
In this talk, Breitwieser examines some neurologists' presumption that to protect a vulnerable fetus from harm requires withholding a key test in the diagnosis of brain death. She argues that doing so negates the declaration of brain death and thus complicates ethical and legal approaches to postmortem pregnancy overall. Using insights from feminist science and technology studies, Breitwieser suggest that a cultural and scientific remediation of what constitutes biological life and death may be a new avenue for feminist theorizing in this area of medical policy and practice.
Dead Mothers, Live Births
Monday, April 8