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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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Passing the Abortion Act 1967

Passing the Abortion Act 1967

Chapter:
(p.39) 3 Passing the Abortion Act 1967
Source:
Beyond Pro-life and Pro-choice
Author(s):

Fran Amery

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529204995.003.0003

This chapter looks at the debates surrounding the passage of the Abortion Act 1967 and how it operated to extend medical power over abortion. It argues that in order for medicalisation to take place, it was necessary to convince doctors that they had a legitimate ‘social’ as well as ‘medical’ role. This was achieved in particular through a series of revisions to the controversial ‘social clause’ of the Act, which provided for abortions for non-medical reasons. Constructions of women seeking abortion as victims or essentially vulnerable – and therefore in need of the authority and paternalistic guidance of the doctor – were central to this process.

Keywords:   Abortion Act 1967, Doctors, Medicalisation, Social clause, Women

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