Women and Gender Seminar: Catherine Batza, University of Illinois at Chicago

Friday, January 16, 2009

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Women and Gender Seminar

“Against Doctors’ Orders: Lesbian Motherhood and the Battle for Medical Authority in the 1970s”
Catherine Batza, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lesbians wanting to become mothers in the early 1970s faced a medical and political obstacle course. The sperm bank industry excluded them until the early 1980s forcing them to improvise methods of obtaining sperm and insemination. Beyond the medical barriers, aspiring lesbian mothers faced skepticism and critique from within the larger lesbian community. Unattainable for many at the start of the 1970s, a growing number of lesbians became mothers as the decade progressed. This paper examines this evolution of lesbian motherhood throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, exploring the rise of lesbian motherhood and the medical and political changes it instigated.

Commentator: Lane Fenrich, Northwestern University