Intersectionality as Disarticulatory Practice: Sex-Selective Abortion and Reproductive Politics in the United Kingdom

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Many authors have argued that sex-selective abortion (SSA) poses a problem for defenders of reproductive choice: the notion that a woman has “freely chosen” to abort a female fetus becomes problematic when she faces compelling pressure to bear a male child. This argument reflects the
broader concern of the reproductive justice movement that mainstream pro-choice discourse has defined “choice” in narrow, legalistic terms, and
overlooks the barriers to reproductive choice often faced by poor women and women of color. This article examines recent debates surrounding a proposed ban on SSA in the United Kingdom. It finds that despite attempts by the ban’s proponents to make intersectional claims around
gender, ethnicity, and class, their arguments also invoke xenophobia by constructing Indian migrants as a threat to “British” values of gender
equality. Thus, the article suggests that the concept of disarticulation
may fruitfully be used to make sense of such “intersectional” claims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-524
Number of pages16
JournalNew Political Science
Issue number4
Early online date27 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2015



  • gender
  • abortion
  • reproductive rights
  • reproductive justice
  • intersectionality

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