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Feminist Bioethics: Toward Developing a "Feminist" Answer to the Surrogate Motherhood Question

Although a wide variety of feminist approaches to bioethics presently share a common feminist methodology (sometimes referred to as "raising the woman question"), they do not all share the same feminist politics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. As a result of their philosophical differences, feminist bioethicists do not always agree on which biomedical principles, practices, and policies are best suited to serving women's interests. In other words, some feminist bioethicists insist that so-called "assisted reproduction" enhances women's procreative liberty, while others claim that it does nothing of the sort. Although such disagreement among feminist bioethicists reassures the general public that the feminist "program" for bioethics is not ideologically monolithic, it also confuses the public, especially women. In order to overcome this confusion, feminist bioethicists should work toward developing the kind of shared theoretical base that will foster frequent consensus on the biomedical principles, practices, and policies most likely to serve the interests of most women in the U.S. today.