Dr Catherine Mills on “The Case Of The Missing Hand; Or, Gender, Disability And Bodily Norms In Selective Termination”

I am delighted to announce that Dr Catherine Mills from Monash University is going to present her Work in Progress at SSHM on Friday May 23rd, at noon, in room E2, East Wing, King’s College Strand Campus.

Dr Catherine Mills

Dr Catherine Mills

Dr Catherine Mills is an ARC Future Future in the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University, Melbourne.  Prior to this, she was Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine (VELiM) and Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at University of Sydney (2008-2012), and Lecturer in Philosophy at University of New South Wales (2004-2008).

Her Future Fellowship will allow full-time research on a project on responsibility in reproductive ethics, from 2013 to 2015.

Catherine will present her work in progress on “The case of the missing hand; or, Gender, Disability and Bodily Norms in Selective Termination“.


The practice of terminating a pregnancy following the diagnosis of a foetal abnormality raises questions about notions of bodily normality and the ways these shape ethical decision-making. This is particularly the case with terminations on the basis of ostensibly minor morphological anomalies, such as cleft lip and missing limbs or digits. In this paper, I examine a recent case of selective termination after a morphology ultrasound scan revealed the fetus to be missing a hand (acheiria). Using the work of Georges Canguilhem, I show that a person with acheiria could be considered normal. Further, I show that this case reveals a kind of ‘undecidability’ in the significance of fetal sex/gender and disability in termination. On the basis of this, I consider the conceptual interaction of disability with sex/gender, to argue that the ethics of disability termination are not as distinct from those of sex selection as is commonly supposed.

Please send an email to Dr Silvia Camporesi: silvia.camporesiATkcl.ac.uk if you plan to attend the seminar. The draft of the paper will be circulated beforehand only with those who commit to attend the seminar.

This entry was posted in Bioethics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dr Catherine Mills on “The Case Of The Missing Hand; Or, Gender, Disability And Bodily Norms In Selective Termination”

  1. Silvia Camporesi says:

    Reblogged this on Humanities and Health.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s