Gestational Surrogacy or Wombs for Rent? An analysis of the surrogacy debate in Spain.

University essay from Lunds universitet/Graduate School; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Social Studies of Gender

Abstract: Surrogacy is a much-discussed issue in Spain since in 2017 the political party Ciudadanos proposed in parliament a law to legalize altruistic surrogacy. Since then, the main political parties have constructed a discourse on surrogacy, positioning themselves in favor of or against its legalization. Meanwhile, civil society has also mobilized and associations fighting for or against the legalization of the practice have emerged. This dissertation analyses how surrogacy discourses in Spain have been articulated by four political parties and two civil society organizations, and what are the social and political implications of these articulations. The thesis has a poststructuralist approach and is theoretically framed into Foucault’s biopolitics and power-knowledge. It uses a literature review and Nancy Fraser’s two-dimensional understanding of social justice as theoretical tools for analysis. After conducting a discourse analysis using Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse Theory, I determine that actors in favor of the legalization of surrogacy conceptualize it as a matter of recognition, while actors against legalization consider it a maldistribution struggle. Secondly, actors in favor of legalizing altruistic surrogacy construct it as a step forward for women’s bodily autonomy. I conclude that the correlation between the legalization of surrogacy and the improvement of women’s bodily autonomy is spurious, and that discourses in favor of surrogacy in the Spanish context jeopardize bodily autonomy because of their understandings of choice and freedom.

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