Fetal Personhood: Social Meanings and Functions

Faith Agostinone-Wilson


The 2012 election in the United States brought abortion once again to the forefront of social issues, with an intensity of rightist discourse not seen since the early 1980s during the conservative restoration. This paper dialectically examines, from a Marxist Feminist perspective, a specific ideological development in the abortion/contraction controversy, that of fetal personhood. First, an overview of recent abortion legislation will be presented, highlighting recent personhood bills. Next, the ideology of fetal personhood is examined, along with its legal implausibility. Finally, I present four ways that fetal personhood benefits the ruling class by objectifying women, eroding solidarity, increasing surveillance, and justifying public sector cuts as part of austerity.


Abortion; Women;

Full Text: PDF

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education