The Rhetoric of Sexual Difference in French Reproductive Politics

Culture and Dialogue 2 (9):225-242 (2021)
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What kind of rhetoric frames French reproductive policy debate? Who does such policies exclude? Through an examination of the “American import” of gender studies, along with an analysis of France’s Catholic heritage and secular politics, I argue that an unwavering belief in sexual difference as the foundation of French society defines the productive reproductive citizen. Sylviane Agacinski is perhaps the most vocal public philosopher who has framed the terms of reproductive policy debate in France, building an oppositional platform to reproductive technology around anthropological assertions of sexual difference. This paper engages with Agacinski to examine rhetorical claims of sexual difference and how such claims delayed passage of France’s revised bioethics legislation that extends access of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to “all women.” Though the “PMA pour toutes” [ART for all women] legislation was eventually passed, such rhetoric motivated the explicit exclusion of all trans person from its extension, thus hardly permitting ART to all women.

Author Profiles

Jill Drouillard
Mississippi University for Women


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