Lost in the Process? The impact of devolution on abortion law in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Using the case study of abortion policy across the United Kingdom, this article takes a feminist institutionalist approach to advance our understanding of state architecture and party competition within decentralised political systems. Despite increasing divergences across the United Kingdom in relation to abortion policy, contemporary debates around abortion access have rarely become politicised. Moreover, as this article demonstrates, when they have, the subject has been framed by politicians as a constitutional matter, relating to legislative competencies, rather than considered in terms of women’s rights. This framing, we argue, is linked to the specific constitutional arrangements of the post-devolution UK and the political strategies of the parties operating within them. Drawing upon parliamentary debates and interviews with political representatives to map the circumstances driving changes to abortion policy in the United Kingdom, this article introduces important comparative lessons for other cases of political decentralisation on the discussions and policies concerning women’s rights
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-745
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Abortion Policy
  • Devolution
  • Feminist institutionalism
  • Gender Politics
  • UK Politics
  • Welsh Politics
  • multi-level governance
  • Scottish Politics
  • Northern Irish Politics
  • Abortion
  • feminist institutionalism
  • abortion policy
  • UK politics
  • devolution
  • gender politics
  • federalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Lost in the Process? The impact of devolution on abortion law in the United Kingdom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this