Constructing women's psychological health in anti-abortion rhetoric

Nick Hopkins, Steve Reicher, Jannat Saleem

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper considers the ways in which anti-abortion activists construct women's psychological experience of abortion and explores the rhetorical significance of this discourse in advancing the anti-abortion project. In particular we examine how the psychological concept of 'denial' contained in the (proposed) diagnostic category of 'Post-Abortion Syndrome' allows anti-abortionists to 'psychologise' and therefore undermine alternative constructions of the experience of abortion. Further, we explore how this construction of women's experience allows particular constructions of the foetus (ie, 'unborn child') to be advanced (and naturalised) without reference to overtly political argumentation. The significance of this development of the abortion debate and its implications for the dynamics of political mobilisation are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)539-564
    Number of pages26
    JournalSociological Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


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