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Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities: The production of ethical subjects in Mexico City's new public abortion program
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Abortion clinics in Mexico City’s new public abortion program do more than provide medical care: they function as venues for the production of ethical subjects of the modern Mexican state. My dissertation examines how a central yet unexposed dimension of public abortion care involves “responsibilization”, a governing technique deployed increasingly in advanced neoliberal democracies (Rose 2000).  Within the public program, begun in 2007, abortion is treated as the result of careless sexual decision-making; clinicians regularly enjoin patients to be more responsible. Invocations of individual responsibility detach abortion from social and structural context such that it emerges as a moral problem of individuals needing ethical reconstitution. Responsibilization is indicative of broader transformations in “reproductive governance” unfolding throughout Latin America alongside the incorporation of neoliberal economic policies and logics that emphasize self-sufficiency (Morgan and Roberts 2012). These changes have important consequences for citizenship. Based on eighteen months of ethnographic research in Mexico City abortion clinics, including interviews with patients and staff, I argue that the program produces sexually (ir)responsible subjects instead of the empowered citizens that feminists and policy-makers had imagined with abortion reform. This moralizing context prevents the internalization of abortion rights, an element I conceptualize as central to reproductive citizenship.

Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
Sponsor: Anthropology Program; Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; LAIS Program; Office of Alumni/ae Affairs
Contact: Laura Kunreuther.
Phone: 845-758-7215

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