Motherhood and some controversies

January 24, 2018, 10h00

Tribunal da Relação do Porto


Pregnancy, as the dawning of motherhood, has been shaken by an authentic Copernican revolution, reinvigorated by the latest technological advances in the medical sciences, placing us at the heart of the year 632 NF of the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, first with artificial insemination, generating “test-tube babies", then with cloning, still only of non-human animals, and ultimately with surrogate pregnancy and post-mortem pregnancy. This became the reality of the new "bokanovskisation process" with the humanisation of the artificial "Incubation and Conditioning Centres". As a counterpoint, we witness the appearance of movements or simply positions, which intend to resume naturalistic or humanised delivery, without the use of conventional medical devices, restricting or even surpassing clinical intervention in labour.

We are thus faced with a 'civilized world', a 'new world' and a 'wild world', which pose new challenges at a crossroads of ideas in which the modern and clinically assisted vision of motherhood seems to be collapsing, to the postmodern fragments of motherhood, which remained, but now intertwined with a technologically produced pregnancy and an essentially naturalistic pregnancy. These more recent challenges raise new questions, propitiating and demanding other reflections, as well as different answers, in the fields of medical sciences, sociology, ethics, law and so on.

Therefore, this colloquium, with an interdisciplinary participation coming from sociology, medicine and law, both at the level of academia as well as the courts, tries to anticipate the "future of utopia" and to discuss the "reality of the present", giving priority to a "space of conversation and debate", in which the most diverse sensitivities and possible different paths take place.

Organisers: Permanent Observatory for Justice of the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra / Tribunal da Relação do Porto