Mapping socio-technical controversies about same-sex couples' access to assisted reproductive technologies in France and Portugal

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Abstract

This article seeks to map socio-technical controversies in France and Portugal over the extension of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to same-sex couples. It focuses on controversies that, over the long term, set actors with divergent representations, interests and beliefs against each other. I approach this problem theoretically and empirically through the analysis of legislation, parliamentary debates, mass-media coverage and in-depth interviews. After introducing the article�s theoretical framework, I will briefly present the legal framing of ART in France and Portugal, which was similar until mid-2016. Despite the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France (2013) and Portugal (2010), until recently laws and public policies in both countries limited access to ART to heterosexual couples with infertility problems. I will describe the dynamics of social and legal change in both countries, comparing the breakthroughs and setbacks in France with a more linear process in Portugal that culminated in the recent adoption of non-discrimination laws concerning same-sex couples (on ART and adoption). This will involve examining public controversies surrounding the �traditional� family model (a heterosexual couple with children), listing the principles underlying the draft laws and exploring the reasoning conveyed by its promoters and opponents. I conclude that social transformations materialized in legal changes depend on both the degree of acceptance by society and the balance of power in national parliaments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalSalute e Societa
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies
  • Gamete donation
  • Health policies
  • Homoparenthood
  • Social inequalities
  • Socio-technical controversies

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