So far Left, we're Right": bridging the cultural divide in California's stem cell controversy

Peer reviewed: 
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Date created: 
Reproductive technologies
Biotechnology and stem cells
Abortion politics
Egg harvesting
Embryo cloning

In the United States, the ideological divide between Left/Right, or ‘progressive/conservative’ has been predominantly defined by the abortion issue since its decriminilization in 1973. Feminists who fought that long battle for reproductive rights have been compelled to protect them against political retrenchment. By 2000, human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) had eclipsed abortion as the point of resistance for right-to-life activists. While aversion to embryo experimentation is not exclusive to the pro-life camp, pro-choice concerns to not privilege the embryo constrain liberal feminist discourse on the moral/ethical quandaries of such experiments. This thesis unravels political events surrounding hESCR in California between 2004 and 2007, examining the struggles, strategies and outcomes of social actors who crossed the abortion divide to find allies willing to fight human embryo cloning and ova harvesting. It suggests that political-cultural ‘border blending’ could be crucial to effective resistance against the new eugenics of human bioengineering.


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Senior supervisor: 
Ann Travers
Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)