Reproductive Rights and Bioethics. Feminist and Feminine Action and Consequences in Italy

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Liana Maria DAHER , Educational Sciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
Abortion and fertility treatments issues involve bioethical values and choices usually influenced by ideology and religion belonging. This is particularly true in Italy were the two principal women standpoints openly clash. From the Feminist perspective, in fact, the above practices have to be free and depend only on the woman’s choice (ethics of choice) whereas from the “feminine” one the defending of life and family comes first (ethics of care). However, both positions seem to defend the rights of women and family.

But, the effects of those reasons and the way of dissemination of the related principles contributed to the implementation of some widespread individual behaviour (e.g. conscientious objection) and cultural opinion. The many restrictions, which are not found in the same laws of most European countries, of in vitro fertilization treatments (L. 40/2004) are an emblematic example, underlying the hypothesis of a strong correlation among ideology, religion and law.

Therefore, looking at the consequences of feminist and feminine discourse on reproductive rights several questions emerge about women’s rights that seemed to be solved. First of all, if the power of women on their body and life project has increased so much as to allow them to choose freely; secondly, if the concept of citizenship is today held on behalf of gender equality, especially in relation to the mental and physical health of women and their rights concerning motherhood and if the relationship between rights (needs) and obligations (responsibility) could emerge from an extension of this concept in a bioethical sense.

This paper aims at answering the above opened questions through the analysis of the contributions of feminist and feminine engagement in bioethics (Document analysis) and focus groups with activists, so as to arrive at some conclusions regarding present-day conflicts in Italy.