"Saving Embryos: Waking Up Christian Logics in Reproductive Technologies," 4S Conference, New Orleans, LA
First, I will reflect on lessons learned from scholarship in this tradition that addresses Christianity. Then, drawing upon ethnographic research from 2008-2018, I will offer a glimpse inside programs that manage embryos leftover from IVF, including a prominent “embryo adoption” program established by “pro-life” Christians (which I call Blossom) and a premier biobank for human embryonic stem cell research (which I call REDEEM Biobank). In my work, I have examined the medical, economic, and religious connotations of saving to trace the various alignments and stakes of them across these settings. Today, I use saving in a narrower sense to focus on the explicit and secularized Christian logics of salvation, resurrection, redemption subtending both programs that strive to convert IVF leftovers into renewed form. To conclude, I will trace how some of the same Christian logics are propelling the contemporary antiabortion movement, what this means for reproductive justice, and why we should care.... Louisiana is an exemplar place for seeing how Christian saving logics, expressed through embryo personhood politics, have real and wide implications.
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