Brownlee Lecture in Sexuality Studies
"What to Do When Medicine Runs Amok in Pursuit of Normality? Putting Feminism into Action to Protect Families 'At Risk' for Atypical Sex, Gender, and Sexual Orientation"
Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities & Bioethics,
Co-sponsored by Penn’s Center for Bioethics and the History and Sociology of Science Dept.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
5:30 p.m. Hall of Flags, Houston Hall
Description of the talk:
What should an academic do when she becomes aware of ongoing medical practices that seem to be not just unethical, but socially unjust? This talk traces Prof. Dreger's work with numerous colleagues, over the last nine months, aimed at protecting the rights of girls born with ambiguous genitalia and pregnant women "at risk" for giving birth to such a girl. She will specifically consider the use of prenatal dexamethasone to attempt prevention of ambiguous genitalia, tomboys, and lesbians, and the use of clitoral reduction surgeries and "clitoral sensory testing" on little girls born with large clitorises. As part of this, Dr. Dreger will delve into the questions of: how Bioethics differs from social justice work; how the protection systems in these instances failed; how medicine is increasingly used not to reduce individual suffering, but as a social engineering tool; and whether feminism is a moral issue.