THE TENTATIVE PREGNANCY: Prenatal Diagnosis and the Future of Motherhood by Barbara Katz Rothuman

THE TENTATIVE PREGNANCY: Prenatal Diagnosis and the Future of Motherhood

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This devastating examination of the almost standard practice of amniocentesis is, as the author cautions, not a book to be read in full by women who are already pregnant. But for women over 30 considering pregnancy (now considered part of the ""risk"" group for whom the procedure is advised), this book will be invaluable. And for those who have already undergone amniocentesis in earlier pregnancies, it will offer some consolation in that they were not alone in the anguish they may have felt when confronted by the moral dilemma inherent in the procedure. Amniocentesis, a relatively simple test that detects such chromosomal deficiencies as Downs Syndrome and Tay Sachs disease, has been hailed by the medical establishment as a major advance in medical technology. Rothman questions that view and attempts to answer her own questions (how does our perception of pregnancy change when every woman who has an ""amnio"" must debate the abortion question within herself while waiting for the results of the test? how does our perception of motherhood as all-giving, all-loving change when certain babies can be deemed unacceptable?) with the words of 120 women who have had amniocentesis, and a few who chose not to. It is this section of the book on the mothers--some of whom made the decision to terminate their pregnancies--that gives Rothman's account its force and immediacy. And though Rothman's own feelings about the procedure are clear and her arguments--sometimes eloquent, sometimes faulty--complex, they do not plead her case for a reappraisal of the test nearly as convincingly as the women she quotes. Must reading for anyone considering becoming a parent or concerned with the politics of ""the new technology.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Viking