Feminist ethics and menopause: autonomy and decision-making in primary medical care
The construction of menopause as a long-term risk to health and the adoption of discourses of prevention has made necessary a decision by women about medical treatment; specifically regarding the use of hormone replacement therapy. In a study of general practitioners' accounts of menopause and treatment in Australia, women's 'choice', 'informed decision-making' and 'empowerment' were key themes through which primary medical care for women at menopause was presented. These accounts create a position for women defined by the concept of individual choice and an ethic of autonomy. These data are a basis for theorising more generally in this paper. We critically examine the construct of 'informed decision-making' in relation to several approaches to ethics including bioethics and a range of feminist ethics. We identify the intensification of power relations produced by an ethic of autonomy and discuss the ways these considerations inform a feminist ethics of decision-making by women. We argue that an 'ethic of autonomy' and an 'offer of choice' in relation to health care for women at menopause, far from being emancipatory, serves to intensify power relations. The dichotomy of choice, to take or not to take hormone replacement therapy, is required to be a choice and is embedded in relations of power and bioethical discourse that construct meanings about what constitutes decision-making at menopause. The deployment of the principle of autonomy in medical practice limits decision-making by women precisely because it is detached from the construction of meaning and the self and makes invisible the relations of power of which it is a part.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 8 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:8:p:1643-1652. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.