Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Beyond medical bureaucracy: an inquiry into the obstacles to abortion in a maternity ward in Turin, Italy  
Chiara Quagliariello (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

Paper short abstract:

Based on an ethnography in a maternity ward in Turin, I will show how medical bureaucracy rather than being a merely procedural obstacle, reveals a number of political, social, gendered and moral implications to which women are subjected in the abortion process.

Paper long abstract:

Medical consultations, rather than constituting a path to access care and abortion, are increasingly becoming obstacles of procedural nature for women's access to their right to legal abortion. My contribution is based on ethnographic research I have conducted in 2014-15 in a maternity hospital in Turin - Italy. Referring to the findings emerged during my fieldwork I could observe how the abortion bureaucracy reveals a number of political, social, gendered and moral implications to which women are subjected. I will focus on three key aspects. First, the informed consent, a procedure aimed to increase women's medical awareness, often results in a moral questioning of women's choice to abort even when there is no conscience-based refusal by healthcare providers. Secondly, the criteria adopted by psychologists - constantly involved in the consultations - to evaluate psychic sustainability of abortion is not only based on the overall psychological integrity of a woman, it rather relies on social norms, for which abortion is discouraged in stable sentimental relationships. Thirdly, the participation of women's partners through all the abortion process, during talks and medical procedures alike, has determined a shift to abortion from being (or should be) a women's centered choice to a couple based experience. Furthermore, I will argue that these phenomena, require us to reflect on the reconfiguration of power relations within healthcare providers - so that the voice of psychologists is becoming as important as gynaecologists' one - and in gender relations during the abortion process.

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