Reproductive justice for the haunted Nordic welfare state: Race, racism, and queer bioethics in Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The Nordic welfare state aims to offer universal healthcare and achieve good health, bar none. We discuss past and present moral blind spots in welfare state bioethics through reproductive justice and queer bioethics, particularly focusing on race and racism, based on ethnographic data from Finland. Globally portrayed as aspirational and mostly uninterrogated, it is crucial to have a thorough bioethical evaluation of a Nordic model informed by Black and queer perspectives. We have come to conceptualize the Finnish welfare state as haunted. We fear that the seemingly non-racial racial hygiene continues to haunt bioethics of the welfare state as structural racism. A key cause for this concern is the lack of racial awareness in public politics and the reluctance in discussing racism due to the national agenda of color-blindness. This crucially compounds to our findings that medical professionals prefer to think they operate on “purely medical” reasoning as opposed to nuanced ethical contemplation, the latter associated with “social issues” that allegedly cannot be resolved and are outside medical interest. We discuss how the bioethical aftermath of eugenics remains unresolved. Racist, classist, sexist, ableist, and cis- and heteronormative stratification of reproduction requires a nuanced moral compass for Nordic welfare state bioethics, not “strictly medical practice.” We suggest queer bioethics as a moral theory for recalibrating this compass, joining forces with other justice movements to tackle racism in healthcare and further to interrogate racism, sexism, ableism and cis- and heteronormativity in bioethics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBIOETHICS
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • eugenics
  • healthcare
  • queer bioethics
  • race
  • racism
  • welfare state

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy

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