Social questions, medical answers: Contesting British abortion law

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8 Citations (SciVal)


The 1967 Abortion Act, rather than granting women a ‘right’ to abortion, further entrenched medical power over women's reproductive capacities. Critiques of the Act have assumed that this process was uncomplicated for state actors, who had no qualms about this dispersal of power, and for the medical profession, which stepped in to fill this new regulatory role without question. This article argues that the medicalization of abortion was a fraught and incomplete process involving fundamental tensions over doctors’ responsibilities. It links medicalization to a process of governmentalization which requires constant renegotiation of the identities of doctors, women, and fetuses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-49
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2013


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