Gender and reproductive autonomy: are there second-class citizens in Europe?

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Grekula, Katja-Helena
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The aim of this study is to clarify the pre-conditionality of reproductive autonomy and women’s citizenship in Europe in the light of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights2. Women’s reproductive autonomy has often been denied in the name of the moral and ethical concerns and nationalistic discourses. However, in Europe there is a strong consensus on gender equality which covers also reproductive autonomy. The Court has tried to balance in its verdicts the competing rights of individuals and the state. It has tried to set boundaries on the question of to what extent pluralistic modern democracies must tolerate intolerance. Despite its shortcomings the Court has played an important role in securing a minimum standard of the protection though realities of the women’s reproductive autonomy are still defined by the state. My approach to reproduction has been non-biological and therefore I have not made a definite distinction between biological and social parenthood. In this study, I have treated the concept of citizenship in the light of critical feminist research seeing it as a wider concept than referring only to public rights and duties but rather as forming the autonomous space in society which allows a person to lead her life as she wishes.
Second semester University: New University of Lisbon
abortion, European Court of Human Rights, family, gender discrimination, human reproductive technology, Europe, sexuality, women