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In this paper we argue the value to policy research of taking a feminist perspective on policy issues. We show the development of fetal abuse as a policy issue and how the often unconscious patriarchal stance taken by those participating in the debate has led to fetal abuse being defined as an issue that arises from the negligence of women, when an equally good case can be made for male fetal abuse. We then show how this definition of the problem followed from the patriarchal belief systems of those who framed the issue.