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Troubling MotherhoodMaternality in Global Politics$
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Lucy B. Hall, Anna L. Weissman, and Laura J. Shepherd

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190939182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190939182.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

Mother Knows Best?

Mother Knows Best?

Critical Maternal Ethics and the Rape Clause

(p.122) Chapter 8 Mother Knows Best?
Troubling Motherhood

Rebecca Wilson

Oxford University Press

This chapter utilizes a critical maternal theory to examine rape politics and, particularly, children born from forced sex, focusing on the 2017 UK “rape clause.” The UK Conservative new tax credit policy limits parents to claim and receive benefits for only two children, as part of new austerity measures, except under extenuating circumstances, for example, if a child had been “conceived without consent.” This is colloquially known as the “rape clause.” By unpacking this policy, this chapter highlights the tension between the state, as the patriarchal caregiver, and the citizen, constructed as an inadequate carer. These patterns of power are visible through the lens of critical maternal ethics. This lens’s strength in moral epistemology, obtained by valuing the virtues of care, is crucial in communicating how these moral boundaries are constructed and permitted through power hierarchies. Therefore, this chapter argues that a critical maternal theory can act as resistance against masculine policies by uncovering these moral boundaries that legitimize rape politics, such as the “rape clause.”

Keywords:   critical maternal ethics, rape clause, conceived without consent, moral epistemology, masculine policies

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