Monthly Archives: February 2016

CAFÉ SCIENTIFIQUE: Should the State Define what makes a Good Parent?

Drawing on research carried out as part of the ‘Uses and Abuses of Biology’ programme, Ellie will talk about the rise of ‘neuroparenting’ and discuss how Government ‘early intervention’ policies based on dubious claims about neuroscience both undermine the autonomy of the family and tarnish science’.

6.30pm-8.30pm, Tuesday 8th March


St Stephen’s Green, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7JU

Dr Ellie Lee

Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Reproduction (CISoR)

The session will be moderated by:

Dr Ruth Cain, Kent Law School and CISoR


A light buffet will be provided

Thanks to the University of Kent Public Engagement with Research Fund

Policing Pregnancy: 

Ellie Lee, Robbie Sutton, Rachel Calogero and Jan MacVarish will take prominent roles in a one-day conference on maternal autonomy, risk and responsibility organised by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Birthrights and the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. It will explore the tensions that exist between efforts to promote awareness of risk to pregnant women and the often unconsidered problems of this approach, including the formalised and informal policing of pregnancy that results. The topic of alcohol use in pregnancy forms the starting point and the conference will welcome Lynn Paltrow of the US National Advocates for Pregnant Women to open the event with perspectives from the US, which will then be explored in a European context. Afternoon sessions will consider topics where trends seem apparent and consider how developments contest the principle of autonomy. A roundtable session will discuss how food intake has become a locus for policy-making through elevated concerns about overweight and obesity, and the conference will end with a discussion about the ways in which women’s birth choices and experiences are constrained. It should be of interest to practitioners, advocates, academics, policy-makers, journalists and anyone else who is concerned about the expansion of risk thinking and its implications for the autonomy of women.

‘How Can a State Control Swallowing?’ Medical Abortion and the Law.

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The Medical Society of London, 12.45-5.15, 23 March 2016

Professor Sally Sheldon (Kent Law School and Deputy Director, CISoR) will launch the findings of her AHRC-funded research into the legal implications of abortion pills at this event, where she will be joined by a panel of speakers with expertise in relevant law, medicine and policy. A light lunch and drinks will be provided. Attendance is free but numbers are limited and advance registration is required. A small number of bursaries are available to support the attendance of students. For more details and to register, see here 

Informed consent and ART


CISoR members, Sally Sheldon (KLS), Darren Griffin (Biosciences), Ellie Lee and Jan Macvarish (SSPSSR) are undertaking exploratory research into informed consent practices in assisted reproduction. The Wellcome Trust has awarded Sheldon a small grant (£4,242) to support a pilot study that will potentially laying the groundwork for a larger project. The work takes its starting point from the fact that infertility treatment services have sometimes been subject to accusations that profit has been prioritised over patient benefit, with patients encouraged to undergo costly, unnecessary, experimental treatments which are unlikely to succeed. However, there is little high quality analysis that allows for an objective assessment of the merits of such claims and little research exploring patients’ experience of informed consent in this area. The larger project will potentially aim to fill that gap.