2123 Reproductive justice, bodily autonomy & citizenship

WG Gender, Law and Society

Room: B2.01


Chair: Annick Masselot

Silvana Beline | Universidade Federal de Goiás

Riva de Freitas | UINESP/UNOESC

Autonomy of the will in times of setbacks





From the illustration feminist theory has always sought equality as a condition of individual autonomy. It should be remembered that the construction of equality goes through the destructuring of the social order that hierarchizes the differences and turns them into inequalities. The objective of this work is to discuss the dominant paradigm perceived in human rights since they are built on the basis of civil and political rights, leaving excluded the rights of the private space, preventing a full citizenship of women regarding their reproductive rights. The discussion will be based on the approaches of gender and justice that interprets redistribution and recognition as two dimensions of mutual justice, subjecting both dimensions to the comprehensive norm of participatory parity. The choice of these approaches were given as categories, which can be used in the discussion on abortion, since participatory parity can / should be the element to repair the damages caused to the victims of injustice. The challenge of bringing the political and theoretical debate on the autonomy of the will could therefore be approached through the recognition of the importance of personal identity, which could be materialized through the reconfiguration of the right to the body through the concept of decisive private autonomy, a possible common agenda for 21st century social movements toward emancipation. How to think women's autonomy over their bodies in a moment of retreat in Brazil with draft laws that withdraws hard-won rights And still prevents the possibility of exercising a citizenship full.

Natalia Broniarczyk | University of Warsaw

Małgorzata Fuszara | University of Warsaw

Abortion law in Poland - the awakening of Polish women




The change of abortion law took place on January 7, 1993, when, after very turbulent debate, the Sejm passed a law on family planning, protection of the human fetus and conditions of abortion. Abortion is only admissible if there is a reasonable suspicion that pregnancy is the result of a prohibited act, constitutes a threat to the life or health of a pregnant woman or if prenatal or other medical indications demonstrate a high probability of severe and irreversible fetal impairment or an incurable disease threatening its life. Since April 2016, after over 20 years of silence and lack of interest in the subject of reproductive rights in Poland, mass protests on abortion are underway. The pro-choice movement in Poland is quite young and is constantly developing. Its origins date back to the turn of the 80s and 90s. Feminist activists working with abortion discussed that the 25-year-old ban on abortions called by the next authorities "hard-working compromise", religion taught in schools, and cooperation of the Catholic Church with each successive government came to fruition. The law and the great activity of the anti-choice movement, strongly cooperating with the Catholic Church, shaped low awareness about reproductive rights, appropriated the language and shifted the way people speak about abortion.  Abortion has become solely a matter of opinion, and even a political declaration. Very few expressions can effectively shift a conversation into a discussion of morality, belief, or responsibility. There is no space for women to talk about abortion and their experiences. Having an abortion in Poland is one of the biggest taboo, and woman who admit to had an abortion may be victim of judgment and stigmatized. At the same time there is a group “Kobiety w Sieci“, which is the safe abortion hotline in Poland. Group brings together women with the experience of abortion, they share their experiences with other women who are faced with such a decision. Sometimes, by the hotline they also bring help during medical abortion. Accordingly to polish abortion law this activity might be seen as a illegal. Everyday, these women are risking by helping  many others to reach abortion. Are they a feminists?

Anne-Claire Sanz-Gavillon | Université Paris 8

Women's fight for Abortion Rights in Spain and Chile: Equal Citizenship and the Construction of Democracy in Post-Dictatorship Societies.




Since 2010, the legislation in Spain, allows adult women to have an abortion without restriction until the 14th week of pregnancy. But in 2013, the Spanish conservative Goverment of Mariano Rajoy approved a very restrictive law proposal on abortion regulation that would have tightened the women’s right to control their body. Hundred of protests were then lead by feminists organizations. After months of concern and movilization, the pro-choice and feminist activists won one of their biggest international victories of the last years since the Government finally decided to drop the reform causing the resignation of the Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, head of the project.
Another important battle in the field of reproductive rights was recently won in Chile where a bill was finally passed to legalize abortion in three cases. As restrictive as the new law could appear, it is still a consistent symbol that puts an end to 28 years of complete prohibition of the abortion. This ban was set up during the closing days of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship as a part of the so called leyes de amarre designed to tie up the country and preserve the legacy of the dictatorship even after its end.
Considering that the fight around women’s abortion rights is actually a fight around the women’s right to equality, this paper will discuss the influence of pro-choice and pro-life movements on the public agenda and discourses. This question is especially relevant in the case of Spain and Chile, two ‘redemocratized’ states with a comparable political and cultural background, both struggling to define and build a new citizenship and inclusive democracy in a post-dictatorship context.

Alexandrine Guyard-Nedelec | Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University

Unwanted court ordered C-sections: what of women’s consent?




In common law countries, if a conflict arises between the pregnant woman and the medical team about the necessity for a Caesarean section, doctors may apply for a court order that will dispense with the woman’s consent so as to proceed with the surgery. In spite of the importance of patient autonomy and their right to self-determination, which should not be undermined because of their pregnancy or by the fact they are in labour, and in spite of the fact that a C-section is not any medical treatment but major surgery and as such extremely invasive, even when the woman provides written informed consent, it is sometimes put aside (as in St George's Healthcare NHS Trust v S; R v Collins and others, ex parte S [1998] 3 All ER 673). Whatever the reason behind the refusal to undergo the C-section, the question of the status of pregnant women arises: if pregnant women’s autonomy is disregarded, are they second-class patients and thus second-class citizens? Indeed, the centrality of individual bodily integrity in common law is often underlined. Its erosion in the case of court ordered C-sections, and more widely obstetrical violence, questions whether women are allowed full citizenship.



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