FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering) is an international network of feminists who are concerned with the development of reproductive and genetic technologies and their effects on women.
These technologies include a variety of different forms of reproductive control over women, following two basic directions: pro – fertility on the one hand, anti – fertility, on the other. Women in what is called the developing world and poor women in the industrialised countries are increasingly faced with unsafe, harmful and coercive contraceptives. Other women are the subjects of experimental technologies, such as in – vitro fertilisation (IVF), which are promoted as being pro – fertility and involve the use of harmful drugs and invasive surgery.
Anti – fertility and pro – fertility technologies are two sides of the same coin; they share a common purpose of attempting to control population quantity and quality through controlling women’s reproductive capacities. Women are also used as ‘vessels’ in so called surrogacy arrangement which is an assault on their dignity, a risk to their health and a modern form of slavery.
Together with gene technologies eg in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and prenatal testing (including sex determination), new reproductive technologies aim at creating ‘perfect children’, thereby eliminating ‘disabled’ people. They are tools of eugenic racist and sexist ideologies.
The thousands of eggs necessary for research cloning commodify parts of women’s bodies to be used as a resource on the global biomarket without concern for the health and wellbeing of the egg providers.
The central technique aimed at achieving biological “quality control” today is genetic engineering, a method of analysing and manipulating the hereditary substance of all life forms. Gene technology is inherently eugenic, because it treats all living beings – micro-organisms, plants, animals and human – as inefficient or outright defective and in need of technical “optimisation” to fit the interests of profit and power. Genetic engineering is already being applied to many different areas of our lives – in medicine, agriculture, the industrial production of food, chemicals and other products, by the police and the military. Women will increasingly be faced with the adverse effects, not only with regard to reproduction, but also as producers and consumers, in the areas of food, health care etc. Last but not least, we will all bear the brunt of future ecological disruption, while the profits of the “new genetic revolution” will flow to a few multinationals.
FINRRAGE emerged with the growing awareness among feminists that it is time to question the assumption that older and newer forms of contraceptives, the new reproductive technologies, and genetic engineering are neutral or even benign.
AIMS OF THE NETWORK
– to monitor international developments in the areas of reproductive medicine, contraceptives, fertility drugs, in – vitro fertilisation, embryo transfer, surrogacy, sex selection and determination, research and reproductive cloning, genetic screening and genetic manipulation etc;
– to assess the implications of these and related technologies for the socio – economic position and wellbeing of women in different situations, cultures, and countries, as well as the impacts on the environment and other life forms, today and in the future;
– to raise public awareness about contraceptive and reproductive technologies and genetic engineering and the ways in which they are linked;
– to analyse the relationship between science, technology, and social relations in patriarchal societies which underlie these technologies and the implications for the feminist movement and the development of alternatives which respect women and nature;
– to extend our links with women internationally, to pool information and insights, and to develop a set of strategies for women and women’s groups to consider and discuss;
– to work towards a global movement of feminist resistance to population control policies and reproductive and genetic engineering, while confronting the issues that divide women because of differences in their social, economic, political, and cultural situation.
HOW FINRRAGE WORKS
As a network, FINRRAGE does not have formal membership. Instead, the network provides links between individual women, as well as different kinds of local, national or international women’s organisations who share common concerns and viewpoints and wish to participate in an ongoing process of analysis, discussion and political activities. FINRRAGE activists work within their countries in choosing priorities, both regarding issues and activities which are suited to their specific situation. This may involve critical research and investigation, information to the public and the press in the form of seminars, publications, interviews, lobbying, outreach to interested groups and individuals, cultural and political forms of expressing resistance and the establishment of alternatives for women (e.g. counselling or self – help groups).
Until 1997 the links between FINRRAGE associates working in different countries were maintained by the FINRRAGE international coordinating group and the national contacts. The international coordinating group functioned as a clearinghouse to provide linkages, to collect and distribute information, and to coordinate and facilitate the activities of the national contacts and other network women internationally.
Since 1997 national contacts carry on this work on a national level. There are no elected representatives who formulate FINRRAGE policy but common consensus positions decided upon by all participants at FINRRAGE conferences.