Since it has not to date arisen as a question, is it possible to open a debate with Giorgio Agamben concerning the role of women's bodies in the politicization of life? The woman about whom a ruling is passed forbidding an abortion is sometimes figured as a potentially murderous competing sovereign whose self-interest would thwart the intervening motivations of the state concerned with the interests of a threshold life. She is attributed with a pseudo-violent decision that this fetal life is not to be lived. Neither zoē, bios, bare life, nor homo sacer, the fetus is rhetorically and varyingly depicted as all of these, in an imitation of these patterns as they take place around zoē, bios, and the production of bare human life as vulnerable excess to which political life can be reduced. Agamben's analyses illuminate the way in which fetal life can come to be considered, particularly in antiabortion contexts and erroneously as a politicized bare life exposed to sovereign violence. Moreover, women's potential reducibility to naked life intertwines with their reducibility to reproductive life. If the fetus is falsely figured as homo sacer, it might be argued that this simultaneously reduces the woman to a barer, reproductive life exposed to the state's intervention. As she is figured as that which exposes another life, is she herself gripped, exposed, and reduced to barer life?
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Penelope Deutscher; The Inversion of Exceptionality: Foucault, Agamben, and “Reproductive Rights”. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2008; 107 (1): 55–70. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2007-055
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