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5 - The Battle for Legal Meaning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2022

Sally Sheldon
Affiliation:
University of Bristol and University of Technology Sydney
Gayle Davis
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Jane O'Neill
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Clare Parker
Affiliation:
University of Adelaide
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Summary

Chapter 5 considers those battles regarding the Abortion Act that found their way to the courts, as broader struggles over the meaning of the Act became framed as narrow, technical questions of statutory interpretation. We consider the role of Pro-Life (and, to a much lesser extent, Pro-Choice) groups in driving this litigation and explore how the focus and framing of these disputes would change over time in line with the shifting centre of the moral debate. We consider how meaning was given to the statutory text, emphasising the important roles played by doctors in giving meaning to the Act before these disputes reached the courts.

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The Abortion Act 1967
A Biography of a UK Law
, pp. 151 - 189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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