Publication Year



maternal health, culture, Latina, Chicana consciousness, gender, medical institutions


Chicana/o Studies | Family Medicine | Latina/o Studies | Medicine and Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology | Women's Studies


Reproductive practices and policies that target women in the United States have a complex and often contradictory history. Social, medical, and technological practices and inventions have proven both beneficial and detrimental to women's choices and sense f agency within the health care system. Some of the most controversial reproductive policies that were debated nationally in the 20th century (and continue to be debated today) include the medicalization of childbirth and prenatal care, the development and widespread use of hormonal contraception, the legalization and access to safe abortion, and regulations surrounding both forced and elected sterilizations.

This project aims to focus on the authority given to physicians and the medical institution in the context of a larger patriarchal frame of thought, and how this authority silences the voices of specifically Chicana women by answering the following questions: How has medicalization constructed cultural views of health and responsibility? How does a lack of social and political power, in the context of racial, ethnic, and class inequalities, affect Chicana women's interactions with medical institutions? How have these experiences impacted a Chicana consciousness in younger generations of women of Mexican heritage? To what extent does medicalization affect how younger generations of Chicana women identify their experiences with maternal health?

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License