Aline Gubrium & Amy Ferrer
Series Number: 50
In 1995 medical ethicist Mary P. Battin suggested a “thought-experiment”for young women, that from menarche through the age of 17, young women be inoculated with a long-term contraceptive as a way to prevent pregnancy. Like tetanus, diphtheria, and polio, Battin positioned teen pregnancy as a health risk that might be prevented. If all girls received a vaccine against pregnancy, they would be safe from the harm incurred from having a child. Battin’s proposal caused discomfort for at least one read- er. Jose Barzelatto, then director of the Ford Foundation’s Reproductive Health and Population Program, fervently disagreed with the idea that all young women be contraceptively vaccinated: “This disregard for the importance of education and access to information, combined with the coercive nature of a policy that requires all adolescents to be “protected” implies a form of government or social control that is incompatible with ideas of democracy and respect for individuals.