The public at large should take a greater interest in pregnancy and child care because society has a responsibility to ensure children begin their lives with as many advantages as possible, contends University of Toronto at Mississauga philosophy professor Amy Mullin.
"We're interested in other people's adventures, so why not in this adventure?" asks Mullin, author of a new book entitled Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare, published by Cambridge University Press. "Pregnancy is pretty dramatic and we can learn a lot from it."

Mullin, the mother of three youngsters, says many people erroneously assume the only serious question a pregnant woman encounters is whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. She counters by listing a series of ethical issues often faced by mothers-to-be.

"There are all kinds of questions about the risks a woman considers acceptable, such as what foods to avoid, whether to stop working because she'll be exposing her unborn baby to environmental hazards or when to quit exercising," she says. "Pregnant women and their partners need a lot of support and understanding from other people when it comes to these important decisions."

Support is forthcoming when a woman has a difficult pregnancy, she says. However, Mullin, who had a difficult pregnancy herself, believes society has a duty to support all pregnant women and says educating people about pregnancy is the only way to make that happen.

"Women will only get support if people know more about pregnancy and think it's a social responsibility," she says. "So many ethics issues arise, but women are afraid to talk about them, because they're afraid of being judged."

Tags: book public

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