Anne Donchin 1930-2014
Co-Founder, International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics
Professor Emerita of Philosophy (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)
Professor of Philosophy, Philanthropy, and Women’s Studies, 1982-2001 (IUPUI)
Director, Women’s Studies, 1990-1992 (IUPUI)
Coordinator, Women’s Studies, 1983-1985 (IUPUI)
Ph.D. (University of Texas, 1970)
M.A. (Rice University, 1965)
B.A. (University of Wisconsin, 1954)
Ph.B (University of Chicago, 1953)
I first met Anne in San Francisco at the inaugural FAB Conference in 1996. This and the accompanying IAB were my first international bioethics conferences. I’d come away from the IAB somewhat depressed and unnerved as it seemed that possessing male gender might be a prerequisite for being a bioethicist. Thus it was a joy to immediately feel at home in the vibrant and enthusiastic sisterhood of FAB. I’d already had communications with Anne, who as treasurer (as well as, with Becky, founder and co-coordinator), had answered my anxious emails and presented me with a small travel grant. I couldn’t believe my luck when Anne invited me to breakfast the day after the conference ended, as there were a few of us late flying out. There I was made to feel welcome, taken seriously as a nascent scholar, and Anne generously provided me with a draft copy of her “Understanding autonomy relationally: Toward a reconfiguration of bioethical principles” which proved invaluable in my doctoral research.
Anne’s vision and energy were critical to the founding and development of FAB. She was a tireless advocate for feminist bioethics, and a peerless ambassador. Anne contributed her time and energy in multiple ways, from securing a Ford Foundation grant to support international participation in the 1998 Congress, to co-editing two volumes based on presentations at FAB conferences: Embodying bioethics: Recent feminist advances (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999) and Linking visions: Feminist bioethics, human rights, and the developing world (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); and two special issues of Bioethics based on FAB Congress papers.
As FAB members, we benefitted in various and many ways from Anne’s energy and enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, her scholarship and her mentoring. In recent years, Anne was unable to attend FAB Congresses in person. Nonetheless, she participated in absentia in providing her reflections on twenty years of FAB at the 2012 Congress, noting that “we had never in our wildest dreams imagined that the group would have so illustrious a future.” (IJFAB 2014; 7 (1): 204).
Anne was a towering figure in feminist bioethics. In her scholarship, her contributions to FAB, and her passionate advocacy for women, she will be long remembered and honoured, and sorely missed. May her vision of feminist bioethics long inspire us:
We look toward a future when feminist thought has a more profound influence on bioethics, when the voices of the socially marginalized are more fully recognized, and the needs of all social groups are integrated into a system of health-care justice that is responsive to the diverse needs of humans across the globe (IJFAB 2014; 7 (1): 206).