This talk is based on eighteen months of anthropological fieldwork conducted among poor, pregnant women receiving prenatal care provided by the Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP) at a large public hospital in New York City. PCAP is a special program within the New York State Medicaid program that provides comprehensive prenatal care services to otherwise uninsured or underinsured women. This talk attempts to accomplish two goals. The first goal is to argue that PCAP's compelled consultations -- with social workers, health educators, nutritionists, and financial officers -- function as a gross and substantial intrusion by the government into poor, pregnant women's private lives. The second goal is to investigate why it is that indigent women and families fail to enjoy a presumption of privacy with regard to matters that have been imagined, within political and popular discourse, as private. The talk concludes that poor women and families do not enjoy a presumption of privacy because the inability to thrive within a capitalist economy, and the consequent reliance upon the state for financial survival, is thought to index a perceived moral laxity that results in the production of unplanned, unwanted children and their subsequent mistreatment and exploitation.
This talk is sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs. Refreshments served!