Bioethics and women’s rights in Tunisia: sexuality, procreation and freedom


  • Salwa HAMROUNI



Biomédecine, corps des femmes, égalité, éthique, Islam, lois, procréation, Tunisie.


Legal achievements in terms of individual freedoms and equality between men and women are far from closing the debate on sexuality, childbirth,
family relations and women’s physical and mental health. The body of women remains at the heart of social concerns, especially with regard to sexuality
and reproduction. It is sometimes the object of science but above all, it is the symbol of all social transgressions. The legalization of contraception
and abortion in post-independent Tunisia is also related to population policy and to a particular State feminism. Nevertheless, the challenges faced
by these achievements express this quest for identity and the willingness to give society a say in the decision to give birth. On the other hand, with
regard to the desire for childbirth, Tunisian medicine preceded the law in order to help couples procreate. It is therefore the intervention of legislation
with the law related to reproductive medicine. The conditions of access to procreation remain totally determined by socio-cultural prohibitions: the
condition of marriage, the prohibition of donors and surrogate mothers are among the examples. Parentage finally remains a means of pressure exerted
on women / mothers who, together with their children, are victims of social perceptions reducing them to their genealogies. This article examines the
consistence between the various legal texts and the legislative choices vs. the social perception of the body in general and the female body in particular.