Abortion is a difficult solution to a problem: A discursive analysis of interviews with women considering or undergoing abortion in Australia

Maggie Kirkman, Heather Rowe, Annarella Hardiman, Doreen Rosenthal

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21 Citations (Scopus)


There is little research on women s experience of abortion, despite its prevalence and considerable public debate. Women have abortions in a discursive environment that can pit the foetus against the woman and identifies motherhood as a woman s destiny. What does it mean to have an abortion in these circumstances? The research reported in this paper investigated abortion from the woman s perspective. Interviews were conducted with 60 women who had contacted a public pregnancy advisory service in Victoria, Australia. Discourse analysis revealed the women s primary discourse around a??contemplating or having an abortiona?? to be a??Abortion is a difficult solution to a problema??. This discourse encompassed being a responsible woman who took other s needs into account, including the potential child s. Most women found having an abortion difficult for reasons concerning the foetus, herself, and others. Women s accounts exemplified the complex personal and social contexts within which reproductive events, such as those in which the potential for abortion may play a part, must be understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121 - 129
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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