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Reimagining Global Abortion PoliticsA Social Justice Perspective$
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Fiona Bloomer, Claire Pierson, and Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447340430

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447340430.001.0001

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The biomedicalisation of abortion

The biomedicalisation of abortion

(p.31) Three The biomedicalisation of abortion
Reimagining Global Abortion Politics

Fiona Bloomer

Claire Pierson

Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the development of the bio-medicalisation of abortion. Recent history reveals the key role played by pharmaceutical companies in the development of a medication to induce abortion (Mifepristone) and how localised knowledge amongst women identified the abortifacient properties of a second medication (Misoprostol). Whilst the bio-medicalisation of abortion was initially hailed as a way to put women at the centre of the process, its implementation was not without problems. The impact of commercial pressures on pharmaceutical companies is discussed, as well as challenges faced by those accessing the medication without adequate information on dosage and usage. The case study of Brazil highlights the hugely significant role played by women in communities experiencing multiple barriers to accessing abortion, sharing knowledge about medication which having been developed for other purposes, became known for its abortifacient purposes. The impact of the Zika virus in 2015 highlights how severe inadequacies within reproductive health policy affected women and their families. The chapter concludes by considering the impact of the bio-medicalisation on health professionals and the changing dynamic in the relationship between clinician and the woman seeking an abortion.

Keywords:   biomedicalisation, pharmaceutical companies, abortifacients, Mifepristone, Misoprostol, Zika, Brazil, abortion providers

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