The discourse of abortion law debate in Australia: Caring mother or mother of convenience

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This paper explores the political discourse and language used in the Federal and Victorian parliaments and associated speeches during recent abortion reform debates. The purpose is to expose the underlying assumptions and constructions that favour the maintenance of a particular concept of a woman who seeks an abortion. We examine the significance of particular stereotypes and what impact those discourses have on political debate and legal outcomes. The paper also provides a functional analysis of this discourse. It argues that the discourse used by politicians opposing reform functionally undermined the conservative outcomes desired by those same politicians. However, their discourse was successful in terms of perpetuating the stigma surrounding abortion and in justifying continuing state oversight or intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 44
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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