Women’s Movements Facing Surrogacy. Frames, Alliances and Reflections on Freedom.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Daniela BANDELLI, LUMSA University, Italy
Consuelo CORRADI, Department of Human Studies, Lumsa University, Italy
In Italy Women’s Movements are facing a new divisive struggle of reproductive politics. Some groups, inspired to the philosophy of difference and eco-feminism, joined the international campaign Stop Surrogacy Now, born in the US in 2015, and along with pro-life activists, call for the universal ban of all forms of gestational surrogacy. Core arguments of WMs in this coalition build upon a frame of commodification of women and children. Other women groups, close to gender feminism and social constructivism, disagree with the abolitionist demand and frame surrogacy as a space of freedom and reproductive rights. In Italy surrogacy is illegal as provided by the law 40/2004 on assisted reproduction. However, increasing number of babies are born to Italian parents from surrogacy arrangements undertaken abroad. Although majority of commissioning parents in the surrogacy industry are heterosexual couples, the topic has risen in the Italian public debate during the Parliament discussion on a new law on same-sex marriage and parenting in 2015. This discursive context share similarities with the surrogacy debate in France, where WMs started to mobilize for the universal ban before Italy.

Our paper will outline key diagnostic and prognostic frames employed by both WMs fronts in Italy, and their alliances with other social movements (in particular with pro-life and LGBT) at a national and transnational level. Also, we will highlight similarities in the evolution of discourse, and its connotations, as well as mobilization strategies applied by WMs in Italy and France.

Through the action theory of Hannah Arendt and Jurgen Habermas’s critique of liberal genetics, we will argue that surrogacy are posing to WMs a defining challenge: reflection on the meanings and boundaries of freedom and power in the procreation sphere is urgently needed.