José Manuel Morán Faúndes

 

Global religious conservatism and abortion politics: lessons from Europe and Latin America

The reproductive rights agenda has called into question moral order defended by more traditionalist sectors. In Europe and the Americas, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and more conservative factions of Protestantism are the principal actors whose principles and beliefs about the body, the role of women and reproduction have been questioned by this robust agenda. Faced with this reality, conservative religious sectors have reacted by seeking to utilize political power and intervention in order to slow the advance of feminist agendas. However, the ways in which religious conservative activism has developed has not been uniform, and conservative churches have not been the only organizer of anti-feminist agendas. There has also been a convergence of other actors committed to an agenda practically identical to that of the ecclesiastical hierarchies, i.e. prioritizing the defense of a traditionalist morality. Academic religious institutions and actors, lay movements, bioethicists, NGOs, and parliamentary groups, among others, compose an activist front opposing reproductive rights, and specially abortion policies. The diversity of actors that take part in this activism has largely converged under the label of “Pro-Life”. In this way, the “Pro-Life” coalition operates as a kind of organization with a shared political identity. Taking this complex scenario into consideration, the present work will seek to show some of the main characteristics that this activism has taken in recent times, putting in dialogue the Latin American and European experiences. For this, the cases of Argentina and Spain will be analyzed, synthesizing the way in which conservative religious mobilization has built some transnational strategies, and shaping global-level activism to oppose the reproductive rights agenda, focalizing specially on abortion issues. Specifically, this work will show how conservative religious activism has been developing a triple strategy at the transnational level, based on a prioritization of civil society as arena of dispute; the appeal to strategic secularism and religious de-identification as modes of communication and public identification; and a strong political-state orientation.

José Manuel Morán Faundes is Doctor in Social Studies of Latin America and MSc in Sociology at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Graduate in Political Science at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Research Assistant of Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET-Argentina), professor in Juridic Sociology and Researcher of Sexual and Reproductive Rights Program  (http://programaddssrr.wordpress.com) at Law Faculty of Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Co-editor of “Sexualidades, desigualdades y derechos: reflexiones en torno a los derechos sexuales y reproductivos” (Córdoba, Ed. Ciencia Derecho y Sociedad), “Sexo, Delitos y Pecados: Intersecciones entre religión, sexualidad y el derecho en América Latina” (Washington, American University) y “Laicidad and Religious Diversity in Latin America” (Cham, Springer).