Teen Pregnancy and Public Health at the Border
This chapter draws upon the work of both critical-race theorists and feminist sociologists to analyze how the California Department of Health Services’ “Partnership for Responsible Parenting” disguises national and local concerns about changing racial demographics and non-traditional family structures within the rhetoric of the “teenage pregnancy” problem. The discourses that mark the maternal bodies of women of color as racialized, sexualized threats to moral and civic “responsibility,” “family values,” and “public health” achieve their distinctly racialized character and racializing function through their status as part of deviant sexuality, deficient motherhood, and national economic and social threat burden. The chapter also locates the visual print media components of state-authored teen pregnancy prevention initiatives within the same public “screening space” as other U.S. visual constructions of maternal bodies.
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