Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation
Are women's rights limited by our beliefs about maternal instinct? Abortion rights in the U.S. have been under threat for decades, perhaps never more so than today. Pro-life advocates argue that abortion is murder, but I argue their true motivation is rooted in the long-held fallacy of maternal instinct – an instinct I will disprove. Using historical legal markers since the 1960s, I will chart the progression of women’s right to control fertility, and the subsequent representation of motherhood in three novels over the same period of time: The Bell Jar, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Patron Saint of Liars. My own novel will contribute to this body of work, which demonstrates the danger of a society that seizes control over women’s fertility. My research will show that belief in the maternal instinct establishes a mandate for motherhood. A woman’s right to abort – and consequently her freedom in general – will be at risk until the myth of maternal instinct is dispelled.