Reproductive Governance in the New Europe

Competing Visions of Morality, Sovereignty and Supranational Policy

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

While the European Union currently lacks a mandate to govern reproductive health services and policies, reproductive governance is increasingly debated both at the EU and the nation-state levels. The EU has taken formal positions to promote access to comprehensive reproductive health services. In tension with the EU's position is the Vatican, which promotes the use of conscientious objection to decline the provision of certain health services. Currently, the use of conscientious objection is mostly unregulated, prompting debates about supranational regulation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meeting in Paris in 2010. This article uses the lens of the PACE meeting debate to consider the cultural, historical and political specificities and agendas that give shape to competing arguments about rights, health and state sovereignty. I argue that political rationalities directed towards reproduction locally and the supranational rights debates work synergistically to paralyse European reproductive health policymaking.

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