Location: Room K0.18
When: 27/04/2016 (13:00-14:30)
Contact: Dr Hanna Kienzler  @

Elselijn Kingma
(Department of Philosophy at University of Southampton) will chair a new research seminar.

“Invisible Patients in Birth Debates (are not the ones you’d expect)”

Abstract:  “Choosing a home-birth is like driving without a seatbelt on” quipped Savulescu and de Crespigny (2014) in one of several articles that review the ethics of choosing, providing for or recommending home-birth. In this paper I examine a range of sources that represent data on the comparative safety of different birth-options to expose a systematic error in our representation or risks and benefits: the birth-outcomes pertaining to mothers are systematically overlooked. This systematic bias feeds into, and distorts, our practical and moral analysis of pregnant women’s choices. I consider a several explanations for this distortion and argue that whilst many of these are good explanations, none of them justify the distortion; which remains an error. This reveals the systematic bias I have identified to be deeply seated in our cultural consciousness, which gives us reason to be extremely cautious in our reasoning and advice surrounding pregnancy and birth.

Biography:  Elselijn Kingma is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Southampton, and Socrates Professor in Philosophy & Technology in the Humanist Tradition at the Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Kingma obtained undergraduate degrees in Medicine (2004) and Psychology (2004) at Leiden University, and and MPhil (2005) and PhD (2008) in History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. She received post-doctoral training in  the Department for Clinical Bioethics, National Institutes of Health (USA), then worked at King’s College London and the University of Cambridge before taking up a lectureship at the University of Southampton in 2013. Kingma’s research focuses on philosophy of medicine, specifically concepts of health and disease and the epistemology of evidence-based medicine; ethical questions in pregnancy and birth, specifically the application of the doing and allowing distinction to maternal-fetal relations and the rights and obligations of pregnant and birthing women; and the metaphysics of pregnancy, for which she is lead investigator on a 5-year, 1.2 million Euro ERC Research Grant.

For more information on Research Seminar Series, please visit this LINK



About jamesrupertfletcher

PhD candidate at the Institute of Gerontology, King's College London. Interested in dementia, health & social care and social theory. @JamesRuFletcher
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