39 Harv. Women's L.J. 257 (2016)
Born to Be a Mother: Anatomy, Autonomy, and Substantive Citizenship for Women in Israel

handle is hein.journals/hwlj39 and id is 263 raw text is: 



                    BORN TO BE A MOTHER:
       ANATOMY, AUTONOMY, AND SUBSTANTIVE
           CITIZENSHIP FOR WOMEN IN ISRAEL


                      DR. KARIN CARMIT YEFET*


     Everything about woman is a riddle, and everything about wo-
     man has one solution: that is pregnancy.'
     One of the major focuses of Israel's citizenship discourse is civic virtue.
How the nation defines contributing to the community depends, however, on
the citizen's gender. This article establishes the thesis that for Israeli Jewish
women, the only route to acceptance in society is through the concept of
reproductive citizenship.
     The laws that most critically perpetuate what I term the categorical
imperative of compulsory motherhood are abortion law and child support
law. While ordinarily perceived as unrelated fields of state regulation, I ar-
gue that these bodies of law must be read together and exposed as a legisla-
tive enterprise designed to demarcate the normative boundaries of
citizenship for Israeli women.
     Whereas abortion law mostly focuses on ensuring a proper numerical
quantity and genetic quality of the Jewish people, child support law operates
to ensure social quality. From this perspective, the gender-deadly combina-
tion of abortion-restrictive regulations and child support obligations supplies
a unique and largely ignored lens through which to explore how the state
constructs the social category of woman. I conclude that the two laws

   * Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa; alumna Yale University
School of Law, LL.M, J.S.D. programs; Bar Ilan University, LL.B., LL.M honors pro-
gram, summa cum laude. The article is dedicated to my dear friend and mentor, Professor
Shulamit Almog, whose groundbreaking scholarship has been devoted to improving wo-
men's citizenship status in Israel. Distinguished by its breadth and multi-faceted analysis,
Almog's feminist legal research is remarkably anti-essentialist and deals with a wide
range of sub-categories of women, including the most disadvantaged or neglected, from
the virgin (as Ultra-Orthodox women) to the whore (as women in prostitution), in both
the public and private spheres. I am deeply indebted to Shulamit for her personal support
and for her scholarship which greatly inspired my own research.
  Special thanks to Professor Robin Fretwell Willson, without whom this project would
not have been born. I am indebted for a thought-provoking discussion with Robin and her
2015 Biomedical Ethic class, which helped inspire the writing process. I am also grateful
to Dr. Enav Yefet (MD/PhD) from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Emek
Medical Center, Afula, Israel, for sharing with me her expertise regarding the medical
aspects of the research. Many thanks also to the anonymous readers who reviewed the
paper for their valuable comments, to Emily Robey-Phillips, the JLG editor for her in-
sightful suggestions, to Lior Frank for superb research assistance, and to Laura Femino
and Maya Hodis for their refined editing assistance.
    I FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra First Part On Little Old And Young
Women, in THE PORTABLE NIETZSCHE 115, 178 (Walter Kaufmann ed. and trans., 1954)
(1891).

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