Accepted Paper:

Politics, doctors, reproductive technologies & religion: transgenerational understandings and experiences of single motherhood in Spain   


Ana Bravo-Moreno (University of Granada (Spain))

Paper short abstract:

This article analyses how Roman Catholicism permeates different governments and medical practices in Spain, explicitly during the Francoist dictatorship and implicitly in the current democracy. This affects the field of assisted reproduction, where its biases discriminate against women.

Paper long abstract:

The Francoist and Catholic State created a patriarchal legislation, based on the authority of the husband and the father. The Francoist laws equated the family to legally constituted matrimony according to Canon Law; children produced outside of marriage were considered illegitimate. The family was the natural destination for women and the State recognised the husband as the only valid interlocutor between family and society. The ideological essence of the Franco regime was that Spain represented the spiritual haven of the West, making women the guardians of the home and tradition. In the current democracy, the 2006 law for assisted reproduction signified a change in the human procreative process and in the conception of the family, since it meant giving prominence to the will of the person to freely make their life choices. However, according to data from 2010, Spain led Europe in multiple births due to assisted reproduction, with the associated risks these types of births imply. Faced with the avalanche of multiple pregnancies, ARTs have been developed, thus creating ethical conflicts and situations lacking clarification in law. This has meant that doctors, despite their oath to serve their patients, allow their religious beliefs to compromise the care of their patients. All too often, those affected by these practices are women. The subject of study is approached by analysing the context through autoethnography, whose understanding emerges from an implied dialogue in terms of examining the interrelations between researcher and context in order to inform and illustrate social change.

Panel MB-MT04
Flexible reproduction: on the moving articulations of reproduction, technology and culture