Feminist Sci-Fi Writers Predict The Future Of Reproductive Health


According to the rhetoric used by Donald Trump during the presidential debates, girls can rip babies out of their wombs minutes before birth. This imagery runs counter to current laws, which in most states permit abortions merely before a fetus has reached 24 to 26 weeks. Some states outlaw abortion as few as 12 weeks after a womans most recent menstrual interval; North Dakotas cutoff is six weeks.

The chairmen language on the issue produced pro-life proponents to fear an overturn of Roe v. Wade, a law that younger women may take for awarded as a basic right. But stories like Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale, a speculative fiction volume from the 1980 s thats get accommodated this year for Hulu, work to remind us that few rights are truly inalienable, and a perfect cyclone of circumstances could undo the freedoms of millions.

While dystopian stories like Atwoods help readers contextualize the here and now, theres also a stable of science fiction writers using the genre to explore possible solutions to current problems. So, we asked writers to imagine how reproductive rights could be protected, and improved, in the future. Their answers, below, include birth control injections distributed to both men and women, and socializing kids to take ownership of their own bodies.

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Kameron Hurley, Hugo Award winner and author of The Geek Feminist Revolution

Womens health is often used as a euphemism for issues related to contraception and abortion. Certainly, there are many other health issues faced by cis and trans girls alike, but its fertility that is often the most heavily legislative and taboo. How does engineering solve a problem that is, at its core, a social difficulty?

Sure, the creation of artificial wombs sounds nice, but it does not remove the reproductive function of those who do have wombs, and it doesnt erase the social stigma that many girls suffer. Im often asked why I write all-women space operas like The Stars are Legion, or imagine fantastic cultures with eight different genders and wild social taboos. I do this because many of our fundamental problems as human being wont be solved by creating a widget. There have been all sorts of useful widgets that failed because we could not make them socially palatable( Google Glass, anyone ?). But what we need to change first is the stories of ourselves, and what it possible.

As weve watched over the last few months, who controls the narrative over a narrative has a huge impact on who creates the future. The future of womens health does not require an artificial womb or a 100 percentage effective contraceptive( though both would be nice ). Instead, procuring a future where cis and trans female torsoes are afforded equal respect and research dollars requires a harnessing of the histories of who matters. Create the story of who matters, and who is human, and the investment in the right widgets will follow.

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