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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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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Feminism Enters the Debate

Feminism Enters the Debate

(p.67) 4 Feminism Enters the Debate
Beyond Pro-life and Pro-choice

Fran Amery

Policy Press

This chapter considers the entry of feminist arguments about abortion into UK parliamentary debates in the 1970s. A contingent of MPs willing to advocate for legal abortion on feminist grounds had developed. However, the wording of the Abortion Act placed feminist actors in a difficult position; the gendered implications of the Act were troubling, but at the same time it was essential to defend it from attack by opponents of legal abortion. This resulted in some tricky compromises, in which feminist actors would defend a ‘right to choose’ without examining the failure of the Act to provide exactly that. Yet difficulties were present for anti-abortion actors, who risked being perceived as being ‘against’ helping vulnerable women. Anti-abortion speeches during this period were ambiguous and confused in how they discussed women.

Keywords:   Feminism, Anti-abortion, Parliament, Abortion Act 1967, Right to choose

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