Young women, pregnancy and abortion in Britain: a discussion of law ‘in practice’

Lee, Ellie J. (2004) Young women, pregnancy and abortion in Britain: a discussion of law ‘in practice’. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 18 (3). pp. 283-304. ISSN 1360-9939 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This contribution draws primarily on findings of an interview study with a group of young women living in Britain who conceived a pregnancy when aged under 18. Through discussion of their narratives, it aims to provide insights about areas of young women’s experience that legal scholars have highlighted as potentially problematic under the current legal framework; namely involvement of parents when those aged under 16 seek medical treatment, and the provision of abortion to under 18s. The broader aim here is to provide comment on the gap between abortion law ‘on paper’, and ‘in practice’. The paper finds that abortion law in Britain operates in practice in a way that differs from what might be expected on the basis of its terms on paper, in that most young women are unlikely to encounter major difficulties when accessing abortion. Nevertheless a key criticism made of the law by legal scholars – that it medicalizes abortion – emerges as having continuing validity, and the conclusion is drawn that the rules that regulate abortion in Britain should remain subject to challenge.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law > KD England and Wales
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Ellie Lee
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2010 16:32
Last Modified: 28 May 2014 12:55
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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