Tag: illegal abortion

Bioethics News

India Abortion: Police Find 19 Female Foetuses

March 7, 2017

(BBC) – Police in the western Indian state of Maharashtra have found 19 aborted female foetuses near a hospital. Senior police officials in Sangli district said the remains were “buried with the intention of disposing them”. The police told the BBC that they found the foetuses while they were investigating the death of a woman who had undergone an illegal abortion. Activists say the incident proves yet again that female foeticide is rampant in India despite awareness campaigns.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Special Issues! Biomedicalization in Brazil; Life after Biopolitics by Anna Zogas

April brings many special issues! We’ve already highlighted themed issues on insurance and digitized health, and here are two more themed issues to know about: this month’s História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos is on The Biomedicalization of Brazilian Bodies: Anthropological Perspectives, and the current South Atlantic Quarterly is about Life After Biopolitics. Enjoy!

História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

The Biomedicalization of Brazilian Bodies: Anthropological Perspectives (open access)
Ilana Löwy, Emilia Sanabria

This special issue brings together work on the “biomedicalization” of Brazilian bodies, examining the way biomedical techniques are taken up across the divergent structural constraints afforded by private and public health in Brazil. Biomedicalization – or “technoscientific interventions in biomedical diagnostics, treatments, practices, and health to exert more and faster transformations of bodies, selves, and lives” – forms an assemblage that is both global and highly local. Our aim is to interrogate this phenomenon from Brazil.

The authors, writing from Brazil, Europe, and North America, share a long-standing commitment to analyzing the specific local biologies – and local politics – of Brazilian approaches to health and the body. They probe the incursion of biomedical technologies within richly depicted social worlds, revealing quotidian violence (particularly where women’s bodies are concerned), exceptional forms of care within conditions of precarity, and the intersections of kinship, class, work, and the symbolic capital afforded by biomedical consumption in Brazil. They share a commitment to critically engaging with biomedical conceptions of disease and illness, destabilizing the body as a stable referent (implicitly grounded in a biomedical ontology), analyzing health as a deeply relational, situated, and political process.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Top of the Heap: Elly Teman by Hannah Gibson

For this installment of the Top of the Heap series, I spoke with Elly Teman, a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction and a senior lecturer in the Department of Behavioural Science at Ruppin Academic Center in Israel.

Elly Teman

The top of my heap this past summer has been stacked with a list of documentary films on topics related to the anthropology of reproduction while preparing syllabi for the coming year. I find that students engage much closer through film than through reading only, and that incorporating films in my courses makes for lively discussion. Thus, I am constantly on the lookout for new films to add to my collection. Most of the films I use are available on YouTube, Vimeo, or the director’s website, so I ask the students to watch the film on their own the week before a specific class. They submit a paragraph the night before class about their reaction to the film and its connection to class readings, or in response to a question I pose regarding the film. In class we discuss the film together with the lecture and readings for that day; this gives them a lot of vivid examples to illustrate theoretical concepts and to make cross-cultural comparisons.

Some of the films below are ones I have not yet seen or have not yet been able to obtain a copy of. Others are “musts” on my list for any course on the anthropology of reproduction or for a section on reproduction for a medical anthropology course.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Disability Will Never Be Immoral

The summer’s “ice bucket challenge” has brought an extraordinary amount of attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease impacting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. What you may not know about ALS is that it is only very rarely inherited, at least through any determined genetic mechanism. It is currently thought that “only about 5% of all patients with ALS will have a genetic change” causing the disease. Genetic testing is available for patients who have both symptoms and a family history, but it is rarely recommended.

This does not mean that genetic testing for ALS will not be marketed to people concerned for their health, or for that of their children, especially given the peak in interest at this time. Genetic screening for the “breast cancer genes” BRCA1 and BRCA2 has become widespread, and prenatal genetic tests to detect them are also on the rise. But as with ALS, the vast majority of breast cancer cases have nothing to do with inherited genes.

Of course, there are plenty of traits that are more clearly and commonly linked to genetic variations. Prenatal genetic testing for such conditions significantly raises the stakes of what can be done with that knowledge.

All parents-to-be must be able to make their own choices about their ability to raise any child, but unfortunately too many are presented with a prenatal diagnosis without accompanying information about what it actually means for their child or their family. The slick marketing of prenatal genetic testing has sparked concern about its propensity to dehumanize conditions while normalizing specific responses.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.