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Accepted Paper:

"Take care of themselves" in the political and moral uncertainty of illegal abortion in Mérida (Mexico)  
Anastasia Martino

Paper short abstract:

My research deals with sexuality, reproduction and power. In a local context where abortion is illegal, how state policies, social activism, moral stands and medical knowledge can define and influence personal life trajectories?

Paper long abstract:

Abortion is illegal everywhere in Mexico, except in Mexico City, where it's has been legalized in 2007. This (political and juridical) decision has produced a strong reaction of dissent by the more conservative political groups and by the Catholic Church.

Abortion represents today in Mexico, as in other countries, "a political arena" within which different actors (public and private) place, compare and confront themselves about the "women rights" and the "unborn rights".

In this paper, I would like to present some results of my PhD research - carried out from 2011 to 2014 - focused on family planning policies, use of contraceptive methods and the issue of abortion (illegal but allowed in specific circumstances) in Mérida, the capital city of Yucatán.

In order to comprehend the variety of positions, ideas, behaviours, ethical and moral stands, that people take on sexuality, reproduction and contraception, I decided to set my fieldwork taking into account different social actors: women and men, health professionals and doctors working in public hospitals, and social movements activists. I have been working with public associations (pro-choice and pro-life movement) that are ideologically, ethically, morally and - above all - politically oriented on specific positions about reproduction and sexuality.

In this paper, I want to reflect on the links between biological issues, moral regimes, subjective values and conducts about reproduction and sexuality. I'll try to explore the relationship between the abortion rights, the state political strategies and the ethical and moral "intimate governance" defined by specific social movements (pro-life and pro-choice).

Panel P019
Emerging contestations of abortion rights: new hierarchies, political strategies, and discourses at the intersection of rights, health and law
  Session 1