Feminists of the South

This weekend the elites of the medical-health profession met in Seville to address “the future challenges and new paradigms of the new medical ethics and deontology” that will be embodied in a new Code of Ethics and that will affect all levels of the profession. As usual, with a majority of male speakers and few women.

The drafting of a new code of ethics was announced in the specialised media by the President of the General Council of Medical Associations of Spain himself. The draft has been closely guarded, although it has already received more than 3,000 amendments and there have been public demonstrations by professionals opposed to it, who are announcing lawsuits.

The medical-health system has been and is transcendental in the lives of women, and not only because of its performance in controlling and protecting the social and reproductive function of women, as has been the practice until now, but also because of the repercussions of medical decisions and protocols on our health.

The patriarchal bias, the androcentric vision and discrimination are still very much alive and working within this branch of knowledge and applied science that is medicine, both because of the low representation of professional women in management positions and decision-making bodies, despite being the majority among health personnel, and because of their invisibility as subjects of study in scientific research, where men have been used as models for experimentation and clinical trials, later extrapolating the results obtained to women.

This patriarchal androcentrism, far removed from scientific criteria, has had enormous repercussions on women’s lives and illnesses, leading to serious errors in diagnosis and treatment, as well as ignoring pathologies specific to women’s bodies and their clinical manifestations.

Despite the fact that in recent years progress has been made in research and differential diagnosis taking into account the biological variables and dissimilar characteristics of both sexes, women have been denouncing for years a new setback in the already ancestral discrimination of women and the violation of their human rights.

A social and scientific regression is currently taking place with the hormone treatment and mutilation of minors following experimental protocols and methods, denounced not only by the feminist movement, but also by other ambits of knowledge and science at an international level.

We women denounce that in this country a dystopia is being politically implanted, an unscientific dogma that is intended to be normalised by applying the ideological guidelines of the transgender laws currently in their last phase of processing in Congress. Laws that will once again make women invisible in statistical and research studies, when the possibility of changing one’s, registered sex is legalised, with no other requirements than the will and desire of the subject themselves, and which will operate as a material reality for all social, political, medical, statistical and research purposes.

Under the imperative of a political ideology that imposes sanctions and penalties, the aim is to suppress a material and verifiable scientific principle: the biological difference between the two sexes of the human lineage and the immutability of sex in the species.

At a time when human and professional ethics are determined by economic profit and the commodification of bodies, experimentation on women’s bodies has led, for example, to the transplantation of the wombs of living women, to the experimentation and commercialisation of ova extracted without control from young women in precarious employment, or to the misnamed “surrogacy” which the industry and interest lobbies try to legitimise as a technique of assisted reproduction when in no way is it so. All these practices are taking place with the agency and collaborator of the medical establishment. Without health professionals, they would not be possible.

We see that political guidelines, the unbridled privatisation of health care and the commodification, in parts, of women’s bodies, are interfering both in medical-health care and in the supposed science on which the professionals rely, currently using experimental criteria and practices of such dubious ethics that we women interpret the notorious obscurantism of the medical elite in the elaboration of the new code as a more than likely legitimisation of new aggressions against women’s rights and the due protection of our own bodies.

When political guidelines, patriarchal ideology, the market and interest lobbies interfere in medical practice at the level of modifying the very ethical principles of the profession, we see that this practice has already moved away from the postulates of science.

This is what feminist women denounced this weekend at the gates of the Medical Congress in Seville, in the face of the alarming announcements of the use of the bodies of pregnant women for third parties, as an ethical practice contrary even to existing state laws.

Despite the sophistry appealing to the social interest, a new Code of Ethics has been debated without any intention of transparency or public debate, neither with women nor with the society they are supposed to serve. There can be no ethics without democracy.

The closing date of the Congress coincided, paradoxically, with the commemoration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and with the great demonstrations in defence of health and public health, which apparently did not provoke any ethical interest or concern among the elites gathered in Seville.