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Beyond Pro-life and Pro-choiceThe Changing Politics of Abortion in Britain$
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Fran Amery

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529204995

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529204995.001.0001

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Regulating the Female Body

Regulating the Female Body

(p.13) 2 Regulating the Female Body
Beyond Pro-life and Pro-choice

Fran Amery

Policy Press

This chapter sets the history of abortion law this in the context of feminist critique, exploring the significance of access to abortion for women’s lives and the gendered structure of society. It contains a discussion of feminist writing on pregnancy and motherhood and what these mean for female subjectivity: from Simone de Beauvoir’s description of pregnancy as a ‘servitude’, to Shulamith Firestone’s call for reproductive technologies that can separate the process of reproduction from women’s bodies. This chapter also explores the reproductive justice movement, which has emphasised the ways in which the needs of poor, minority ethnic and migrant women may differ from those of white middle-class women. The chapter argues that access to abortion can have radical implications for women’s lives, freeing women from compulsory motherhood. Yet celebratory accounts of abortion in Britain must be tempered. Abortion law has always relied heavily on the capacity of the medical profession to control women’s reproductive choices.

Keywords:   Abortion, Reproductive justice, Feminism, Firestone, de Beauvoir, Motherhood

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