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University of Massachusetts Boston

Fetus

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Full-Text Articles in Feminist Philosophy

Rubella Vaccine And Medical Policymaking: Fetal Rights And Women's Health, Jacob Heller Sep 2000

Rubella Vaccine And Medical Policymaking: Fetal Rights And Women's Health, Jacob Heller

New England Journal of Public Policy

U.S. vaccine policies, to all appearances, are based on assumptions about cost effectiveness, safety, and public health needs. Analysis of the peer review health professions’ discourse about rubella vaccine between 1941 and 1999 challenges this view. There were four justifications for the development of the vaccine: (1) cost-benefit projections about vaccine use versus anticipated birth defects; (2) the desire to prevent “fetal wastage” by vaccinating women; (3) a professional imperative to ensure healthy babies; and (4) a bias among vocal vaccine advocates against “unnecessary” abortion. The role of a fifth consideration, the “cultural provenance” of vaccines for American medicine ...