AMERICAN POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY WORKSHOP
Abstract: How does public opinion around medical trust and infertility interact with state policies to alleviate health disparities? On average, 10% of couples experience infertility, with women of color experiencing infertility at nearly twice the rate of non-Hispanic white women. Although infertility rates are significantly higher within Black and Latino communities, infertility treatment and the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are significantly lower in these communities. The limited scholarship on public opinion generally fails to explore how racial disparities in health impact attitudes towards emerging medicine, science, and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a common type of ART, and how these attitudes interact with state policies. In this talk, I analyze the relationships between race, gender, and opinions about medicine, science, and ART, connecting racial gaps in public opinion to infertility mandates, one example of public policy that can alleviate inequalities in infertility treatment.
Erin Heidt-Forsythe is an associate professor in the departments of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Political Science at Penn State University, where she is also the Associate Director of the Rock Ethics Institute. She was the Sherwin Early Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State from 2018 – 2020. Her research examines assisted reproductive technology, human biotechnologies, and state politics in the US context. She is the author of Between Families and Frankenstein: The Politics of Egg Donation in the United States (2018 University of California Press), which analyzes the emergence, implementation, and variation of state regulation of egg donation in the United States. She is currently working on research about infertility mandates and their effect on racial disparities in infertility treatment, as well as fertility preservation among transgender youth and adolescents. Her work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law at Case Western Reserve University.
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