Social forces and the abortion law.

Francome, Colin (1980) Social forces and the abortion law. PhD thesis, Middlesex Polytechnic.

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Abstract

This research analyses the social and political forces underlying the 1aws of abortion in Britain and the United States. It sets out to explain the apparent paradox that the United States now has an abortion law which is more liberal than Britain despite the fact that in many ways it is a more conservative society. Furthemore it aims to set this recent situation in a historical context and to examine recent and likely future developments. It analyses the major social forces on either side of the debate and considers these over four separate periods. The first section analyses the early debate. It explains the reasons for the growth in 'Victorian' attitudes to sexual morality and the fact these were more pervasive in America. It then looks at the relationship between the general climate of opinion and the debate on birth control and abortion and shows a fairly close relationship in that the slight liberalisation of attitudes towards birth control in Britain reflected the fact that attitudes were less conservative and that there was a pressure group available to push for reforms. Between the wars there was a strong liberalization of attitudes towards sex. The so called 'roaring; twenties' did reflect the growth in a commercial youth culture and an environment in which birth control information could spread. In Britain the fact that the birth control battle was won more convincingly enabled some to begin to put pressure for an extension of abortion rights. In post war year both Britain and the United States greatly liberalised their abortion law. But a key difference is that the law in America was comprehensibly overthrown and women were given the right to choose in the early months of pregnancy. The reasons for this contrast are explained. In the final section the reasons for the continuance of abortion as an issue in both countries are analysed and some suggestions as to future possibilities are made. In the conclusion the implications of the research for deviancy theory are drawn out.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas:School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Theses
ID Code:6366
Deposited On:05 Aug 2010 14:13
Last Modified:18 Jul 2014 22:20

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