Women, Children and Public Health

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My colleague Linda Fentiman will be delivering the James D. Hopkins Lecture — open to the public — on September 12, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. at Pace Law School.  The title of her talk is “Are Mothers Hazardous to their Children’s Health? Law, Culture, and the Framing of Risk.” Here’s a preview of her topic:

Contrary to their self-image as the ultimate loving nurturers, mothers today find themselves cast in an unlikely role. The media, government, and healthcare professionals are putting a spotlight on mothers as a danger to their children’s health. In this thought-provoking lecture, Professor Fentiman examines why this is happening and debunks the thinking that underlies it. Specifically, she considers the social and psychological forces that shape our understanding of risk and explores how American law is reinforcing prevailing stereotypes about what mothers must do to assure that their children are healthy. Professor Fentiman asserts that the current obsession with the ways in which mothers can affect their children’s health is misguided. It distorts government policy decisions, denies individuals important medical and child-rearing choice, and ignores the other powerful sources of harm to children, both human and environmental. This in turn diverts public attention, and resources, away from the many serious threats of harm to children. It prevents the government from taking meaningful public health actions which would limit harm to children in the future, as well as holding accountable those who have harmed children in the past.

All are welcome.  For further details, see here.

-Bridget Crawford

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