Solving the ‘Woman Problem’ in British Abortion Politics

A contextualised account

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2011, Parliament debated an amendment to the government's Health and Social Care Bill which would have mandated that abortion counselling be provided by independent organisations. While many attacked the amendment as anti-feminist, its principal sponsor, Nadine Dorries, claimed to be acting on behalf of women. This article argues that a historical approach may be fruitfully utilised in order to make sense of such conflicting ‘feminist’ claims. Through analysis of parliamentary debates, it demonstrates that when historical and discursive context is taken into account, the Dorries amendment can be viewed as part of a broader attack on the foundations of the 1967 Abortion Act. This historical approach also allows the contributions of pro-choice women representatives to be criticised as problematic attempts to reconcile a feminist abortion politics with the status quo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-567
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Volume17
Issue number4
Early online date16 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

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abortion
amendment
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abortion counseling
women's representative
parliamentary debate
bill
parliament
health
woman
analysis

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abstract = "In 2011, Parliament debated an amendment to the government's Health and Social Care Bill which would have mandated that abortion counselling be provided by independent organisations. While many attacked the amendment as anti-feminist, its principal sponsor, Nadine Dorries, claimed to be acting on behalf of women. This article argues that a historical approach may be fruitfully utilised in order to make sense of such conflicting ‘feminist’ claims. Through analysis of parliamentary debates, it demonstrates that when historical and discursive context is taken into account, the Dorries amendment can be viewed as part of a broader attack on the foundations of the 1967 Abortion Act. This historical approach also allows the contributions of pro-choice women representatives to be criticised as problematic attempts to reconcile a feminist abortion politics with the status quo.",
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