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The ‘liberal hour’ of 1960s social reform is normally attributed to Labour party leadership (especially by Roy Jenkins) and to liberal Christian campaigning. This chapter challenges the latter, providing evidence for the key role of Humanists and atheists in leading campaigns for abortion law reform, homosexual law reforms, divorce law reform and euthanasia. It provides a general overview of the medical reform network amongst Humanists, plus three case studies: of Madeleine Simms’ attacks on the churches in the cause of abortion law reform; Eustace Chesser’s advocacy of widening sexual knowledge; and Harold Blackham’s inspirational leadership of campaigns for moral education to be added to the English school curriculum in religious education. What emerges is a new understanding of the ideological foundations for secular reform of medical and moral law in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s.
More Australians were talking about a wider array of rights than ever before in the 1970s. A new generation of militant Indigenous activists and young women saw the need for new or reimagined conceptions beyond inherited gradualist, equalitarian visions of political change. Indigenous radicals, buoyed and subsequently disappointed by the remarkable referendum victory of May 1967, were soon petitioning the UN over structural and endemic economic and cultural rights infringements. Reflecting anti-colonial rhetoric at the United Nations, activists placed the need for the right to restitution for the wrongs of colonialism at the centre of their human rights agenda. Women’s liberationists, on the other hand, rejected calls for a new international order that merely replicated divisions between the private and public, the breadwinner and homemaker. Not only would this potentially weaken gains by Western feminists, but merely replicating the demands of underdeveloped states might dramatically limit the rights of women in developing nations. The so-called Right to Life movement sought to appropriate the concept of “human” at the same time, pushing its definition beyond birth to the time of conception. As rights became more a focus of public discussion, battle lines were also being drawn as to what rights were and who could claim them.
After high hopes in the initial post-communist years after 1989, disenchantment became noticeable in some sectors of the local populations in Central and Southeastern Europe. Among the problems which have alienated portions of local publics are the weakness of the economies (especially in Southeastern Europe), the monopolization of the media by new elites, and difficulties in building up constitutional orders, although in each case there are those who benefit from the persistence of these problems. In Catholic countries, especially but not only in Poland, abortion has figured as a pivotal issue, with the Catholic Church pushing for legislation to be binding on all citizens, both Catholic and non-Catholic. Differences in the present state of affairs reflect, in part, differences in the pattern of the breakdown of the communist system, from one state to the other, in particular between transitions engineered from above and transitions pushed forward from below.
Unsafe abortions remain a considerable public health problem and continue to be a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality throughout the world. This study assessed whether women’s choice of type of health care facility for abortion in India varied by their socio-demographic and economic characteristics, and aimed to determine the significant predictors of choice of health care facility. Data were taken from the 2015–16 Indian National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-4). The study sample included women aged 15–49 years, irrespective of their marital status, who had terminated their last pregnancy by induced abortion in the five years before the survey (N = 6876). A bivariate analysis was carried out to assess the pattern in the choice of health care facility type for an abortion, and a multinomial logistic regression model was fitted to assess the predictors affecting the choice of health care facility type for an abortion. The results showed that, at the time of the 2015–16 survey, women in India went to private facilities more than public facilities for abortion care, irrespective of their age, distance to facility and financial constraints. The probability of visiting a private facility increased with women’s age, gestational age and the wealth quintile. A wide variation in choice of health facility for abortion care by socioeconomic characteristics was observed.
In the major literary writing by women in New Orleans in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the theme of home is a central preoccupation, and it is often figured in the literal houses the main female characters inhabit and the landscape that surround these houses. What these houses and landscapes mean varies for each of them, but all of them share an interest in the power of storytelling as a tool for taking ownership over a space and thereby achieving a certain autonomy – a sense of home – with regard to a world that would otherwise dominate them.
Chapter launches project of taking Naso’s desire seriously. Reads Naso’s desire alongside Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, focusing on Naso’s desire to script scenes in which he is at the mercy of his girlfriend; his fascination with the blurred boundary between art-objects and flesh, especially visible in simile-clusters; his interest in castration; and the recurrrence, starting with the poems on Corinna’s abortion, of a “maternal fantasy” in which he plays alternately the mother and the baby. Key poems: Amores 1.7, 2.19, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.13, 2.14, 2.15
Chapter Four revisits the controversial issue of sexual assault of female sent-down youth. Archival records make it clear that the compilation of statistics and the investigation of sexual misconduct were part of a campaign triggered by a state directive in 1973 concerning “harm to sent-down youth,” a campaign that pressured local officials to identify, expose, and investigate locals who had romantic relations with female sent-down youth, and punish individuals found guilty of sexual assault. This was not limited to rape, but included a range of behaviors and relationships previously deemed inappropriate and now classified as criminal: seduction, adultery, and molestation as well as flirting, dating, and affairs. Regardless of what type of intimacy was the basis of accusation and investigation, in almost every case individuals found to be guilty perpetrators of abuse were local men, and those they abused were urban women. Male sent-down youth who engaged in similar intimacies with fellow sent-down youth or local women were exempted from the investigations, as were local men who engaged in such intimacies with rural women.
Justice Antonin Scalia was a towering figure in jurisprudence and legal culture. Among other things, he was the most eloquent and prominent proponent of the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted according to its “original meaning.” Scalia was also a devout Christian: a traditional Catholic who set forth his Christian beliefs with honesty, pungency, and wit. He frequently told the story how during his college oral examinations, he was asked the most significant event in history; he answered, “the Battle of Waterloo,” whereupon the professor “shook his head sadly and said, ‘No, Mr. Scalia. The Incarnation.’” The lesson for the young Scalia: “[Never] separate your religious life from your intellectual life.” Yet this most publicly devout justice also frequently made clear that his beliefs had nothing to do with his judicial role. His job, he emphasized, was merely to apply the meaning of the text without regard to policy considerations or moral values, including religious values. “I’m a worldly judge,” he often said. This presents a puzzle: did Scalia end up separating his religious life from his jurisprudence, the core of his intellectual life? Or was he still somehow a distinctively Christian judge? The solution, I suggest, lies in distinguishing his first-order legal conclusions, which were driven largely (although not solely) by his positivist judicial method, from his second-order choice of that method, which may well have reflected aspects of his personal outlook on the world, including his faith.
This article builds on ethnographic research concerning the Italian pro-life movement and argues for the use of intersectionality theory in studying conservative women. The article suggests, first, that understanding conservative movements necessitates linking their political claims to the social identities of their activists, as would be the case for any other social movement (e.g., feminism). These social identities are as complex and intersectional as any other: a white, upper-class pro-life activist is no less intersectional than a black feminist from a poor background. Concomitantly, there is no unique feminism, but rather a plurality of feminisms, a diversity that intersectionality facilitates the identification of. The same is true for pro-life movements, but scholars tend to use the singular form to talk about conservatism; in this article, I explore the use of the plural to show that pro-life women do not constitute a monolithic group. On the contrary, these women are diverse in terms of their reproductive stories, their working status, and their class, race, and sexual practices, and this diversity translates into different ways of being pro-life. Second, recognizing this complexity does not suggest a natural link between feminism and conservatism. Alternatively, I suggest that a better understanding of conservative women can only be reached if they are studied on their own terms.
Neospora caninum is a commonly diagnosed cause of reproductive losses in farmed ruminants worldwide. This study examined 495 and 308 samples (brain, heart and placenta) which were collected from 455 and 119 aborted cattle and sheep fetuses, respectively. DNA was extracted and a nested Neospora ITS1 PCR was performed on all samples. The results showed that for bovine fetuses 79/449 brain [17.6% (14.2–21.4)], 7/25 heart [28.0% (12.1–49.4)] and 5/21 placenta [23.8% (8.2–47.2)] were PCR positive for the presence of Neospora DNA. Overall 82/455 [18.0% (14.6–21.7)] of the bovine fetuses tested positive for the presence of N. caninum DNA in at least one sample. None (0/308) of the ovine fetal samples tested positive for the presence of Neospora DNA in any of the tissues tested. The results show that N. caninum was associated with fetal losses in cattle (distributed across South-West Scotland), compared to sheep in the same geographical areas where no parasite DNA was found. Neospora is well distributed amongst cattle in South-West Scotland and is the potential cause of serious economic losses to the Scottish cattle farming community; however, it does not appear to be a problem amongst the Scottish sheep flocks.
This article examines legislative changes related to abortion regulation in Australia that create obligations of medical referral on practitioners who have a conscientious objection to abortion. Despite a significant Australian history of accepting secularized conscience claims, particularly in the field of military conscription, the limitation of conscience claims about abortion can be traced to a failure to appreciate the significant secular arguments that can be made to support such claims. We draw on arguments of plurality and pragmatism as capable of providing a firm foundation for legislative protections of freedom of conscience in the case of medical referral for abortion. These justifications are not dependent on religious grounds, and therefore they have the potential to be relevant and persuasive in a secular society such as Australia. Acceptance of a pluralistic argument in favor of freedom of conscience is a powerful commitment to the creation of a society that values human autonomy and a diversity of opinion. It sits comfortably with the democratic values that are enshrined in the Australian political system and institutions. It avoids the potential damage to the individual that may be wrought when conscience is overridden by state compulsion.
This special issue adopts a comparative approach to the politics of reproduction in twentieth-century France and Britain. The articles investigate the flow of information, practices and tools across national boundaries and between groups of experts, activists and laypeople. Empirically grounded in medical, news media and feminist sources, as well as ethnographic fieldwork, they reveal the practical similarities that existed between countries with officially different political regimes as well as local differences within the two countries. Taken as a whole, the special issue shows that the border between France and Britain was more porous than is typically apparent from nationally-focused studies: ideas, people and devices travelled in both directions; communication strategies were always able to evade the rule of law; contraceptive practices were surprisingly similar in both countries; and religion loomed large in debates on both sides of the channel.
Though resulting from a long-term process, the need to manage pregnancies both medically and bureaucratically became a state concern, especially from the 1920s onwards. A woman’s official obligation to notify the state of her pregnancy (and therefore to know it on time) goes beyond a matter of biopolicies and poses a range of contradictions. ‘Pregnant or not?’ – as an issue of knowledge – is a powerful tool for apprehending the tensions between individual freedom, privacy, institutional requirements and professional powers.
In order to better understand the historical meaning of pregnancy diagnostics in mid-twentieth-century France, this paper combines three dimensions: uncertainty and its management; the informational asymmetry between institutional agents and women; and the diachronic dimension of gestation. Writing this history sheds more light on an apparent paradox: while knowing and notifying one’s own pregnancy became a duty, the tools that could help women eliminate some doubt right from the first months of their pregnancy – in particular the innovation of laboratory diagnosis – was seen as a danger. When, in 1938, private laboratories began publishing advertisements for the laboratory test in the most widely-read newspapers, tending to reframe it as a commercial service, the anti-abortion crusade was increasing its propaganda and its political pressure. This crusade’s legal victory proved incomplete, but for a long time some of the most conservative physicians recommended great parsimony in prescribing testing. Combined with reducing the legal time limit for notification, this conflict shows how the state injunctions towards women could look like a ‘double bind’.
On 7 June 2018, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSCt) issued its decision on, inter alia, whether Northern Ireland's near-total abortion ban was compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). This article critically assesses the UKSC's treatment of international law in this case. It argues that the UKSCt was justified in finding that Northern Ireland's ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, and FFA was a violation of Article 8, but that the majority erred in its assessment of Article 3 ECHR and of the relevance of international law more generally.
This article presents a qualitative analysis of profeminist Islamic women public figures’ discourses in the abortion debate in Turkey in 2012. The aim is to reveal the possibilities and limitations of achieving an intersectional and egalitarian profeminist collaboration on the Islamic-secular axis in contemporary Turkey. Drawing on recent feminist scholarship on coalition politics, the article exposes the fluctuations of meaning and the shifting frames of reference in these women's narratives and relates this hybrid, dynamic narrative quality to profeminist Islamic women's unique social location. It also elaborates on the blockage points in these narratives that hinder coalitional ways of thinking. Within this frame, this article suggests that in a social and political context that has witnessed a striking upsurge of antifeminist gender politics in the last decade, the building of coalitional profeminist politics beyond the Islamic-secular divide can be facilitated by shifting the focus from the apparently irreconcilable character of ideological positionings and lived experiences toward coalitional rhetorical strategies and intermediary narrative lines in profeminist subjects’ accounts.
Do international treaties lead to cross-national increases in women's rights? In contrast to Asal, Brown, and Figueroa's (2008) suggestion that the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is not an important factor in explaining the liberalization of abortion rights polices, this article argues that the treaty contributes to increases in abortion rights when the terms of ratification are disaggregated. Previous excursions into this question have only considered whether a state has ratified the treaty, which is problematic from both a methodological and theoretical standpoint given that many states ratified with conditions, while only six states did not ratify at all. Additionally, some states ratified the Optional Protocol and some have not. We demonstrate that the disaggregation of levels of treaty ratification is associated with increases in women's rights in a model replicating that of Asal, Brown, and Figueroa. Further, we extend our knowledge of the dynamics of treaty ratification through the use of structural equations to more fully model how political, cultural, and economic factors, as well as exogenous international pressures, interact to produce changes in women's rights around the world.
A woman’s decision to continue or terminate an unplanned pregnancy is affected by a broad range of contextual and cognitive factors. The identification of women’s perceptions of unplanned pregnancy is crucial for health care providers to be able to offer supportive care and counselling. The aim of this study was to develop an instrument to accurately measure women’s perceptions of unplanned pregnancy: the Women’s Perceptions of Unplanned Pregnancy Questionnaire. The instrument was developed using a methodological framework guided by Waltz et al. (2010). A conceptual model of the designed instrument emerged from the qualitative study using a content analysis approach conducted in Tabriz, Iran. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling method between June 2016 and July 2017. Participants were a sample of married Iranian women between the ages of 15 and 49 who had experienced an unplanned pregnancy, either unwanted or mistimed, within the last 3 months. Women with an established diagnosis of a psychological disorder were excluded from the study. The psychometric properties of the instrument were assessed using face, content, concurrent and construct validations. To evaluate face validity, qualitative and quantitative (item impact score) methods were used. The content validity was assessed by fifteen panel experts. In addition, concurrent validity of the designed instrument was tested using the Persian version of the Cambridge Worry Scale and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The construct validity was calculated by using the exploratory factor analysis method. Data were collected from questionnaires completed by 310 eligible women. Analysis of the data using exploratory factor analysis yielded 31 items in a unique six-factor structure. The instrument was found to have high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α=0.88) and adequate reliability (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient=0.89). A clearer understanding of women’s perceptions of unplanned pregnancy may enhance reproductive services and interventions.
While many women have profited from the relatively recent rights-revolution in Latin America, their pregnant sisters have apparently had to sit in the back of the bus or stay off altogether. Even modest progress on abortion entitlements has come at a high price and slow pace, perhaps due to the opposition of an alliance of long-established and up-and-coming religious groups. On a positive note, however, the struggle for emancipation on this front seems to be moving forward. In Chile, the Constitutional Court's (or Tribunal's) opinion of August 28, 2017, STC 3729/2017, which generally upholds a legislative bill allowing a woman to abort in the face of risk to life, lethal prenatal pathology, or rape, provides a case in point. Significantly, it also expands the statutory category of conscientious objectors to include non-professional staff and institutions.