Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2016

Major Department or Program



Aaron Bobrow-Strain


The terms broadly accepted within the discourse surrounding adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health utilize a language of prevention (i.e. focused on preventing teenage pregnancy). These terms operate through a normalized framework of what is considered legitimate, responsible, and appropriate with respect to reproduction. This thesis investigates this discourse, exploring both the assumptions inherent within it, and its ramifications on those whose decisions fall outside normative conceptions of reproduction. This thesis draws on political theory, interviews with local practitioners and staff members at two separate clinics, both of which operate at School Based Health Centers, as well as advocates working in the field of public health. The process revealed three underlying currents: the dominant discourse of adolescent girls' reproductive health largely reflects normative neoliberal values, the policing of female sexuality, and a distortion of agency. It also explores the ways individuals in the field are actively effecting change through a careful reconsideration of language.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Teenage pregnancy-- Social aspects-- United States, Women-- Sexual behavior -- Political aspects, Reproductive rights, Human reproduction -- Moral and ethical aspects, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 -- Politics Department

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Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

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