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Introduction

This issue of IJFAB is based on papers from the Eighth International Congress of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB), held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in June 2012. The biennial congress is now solidly established as a key feature of the bioethics landscape, and is an important factor in the continuing growth of feminist bioethics. From the first gathering in San Francisco in 1996, FAB congresses have developed a reputation as lively, welcoming, challenging, and intellectually vibrant events that make a particular effort to include the work of junior and emerging scholars in the field.

Both the theme of the congress, Generations: Imagining the Future to Promote Health and Justice, and that open tradition of FAB gatherings are reflected in the writing presented here. The papers take the reader through wide-ranging discussions of reproduction and fertility, the medicalization of experiences such as aging and disorientation, agency and autonomy, and intergenerational responsibilities and vulnerabilities. Some are based on empirical material, while others take a more purely theoretical approach; some are written from within a familiar tradition of philosophical debate, while others are more avowedly political. The selection of papers highlights the rich variety of disciplines, geographies, methodologies, and conceptual styles that currently flourish within the house of feminist bioethics.

The 2012 congress was also the occasion to mark twenty years of the existence of FAB itself. A special session was devoted to reflections made by the two [End Page 1] founders of FAB, Becky Holmes in person and Anne Donchin in absentia. Their commentaries are reproduced in this issue. These reflections on FAB’s past and its future added a valuable extra resonance to the congress theme of “generations,” in both senses of the word: they prompted the kind of discussion and dialogue for which FAB congresses are known, and through which the thinking and activism of one generation of feminist bioethicists is enriched and developed—and challenged—by the next. [End Page 2]

Jackie Leach Scully

Jackie Leach Scully is a professor of social ethics and bioethics and co-director of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre at Newcastle University, UK. She is also a former co-coordinator of FAB. Her research interests include the sociology of morality, disability, and embodiment, and socioethical responses to new technologies. She has written extensively on disability and bioethics, including Disability Bioethics: Moral Bodies, Moral Difference (2008).