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The Decriminalisation of Abortion: an Argument for Modernisation

Sheldon, Sally (2015) The Decriminalisation of Abortion: an Argument for Modernisation. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 36 (2). pp. 334-365. ISSN 0143-6503. E-ISSN 1464-3820. (doi:10.1093/ojls/gqv026) (KAR id:51583)

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While abortion is now offered as a routine part of modern NHS-funded reproductive healthcare, the legal framework regulating it remains rooted in the punitive, conservative values of the mid-Victorian era. This article argues that this framework is in need of fundamental reform to modernise it in line with the clinical science and moral values of the 21st century. It assesses the current statutory framework regulating abortion against the purposes that are typically claimed to motivate it: the protection of women; and the prevention and condemnation of the intentional destruction of fetal life. It argues that it fails to achieve either of these broad aims and that we should thus remove specific criminal penalties relating to abortion. This, it is suggested, would be likely to have very limited impact on the incidence of abortion but would, however, better recognise contemporary medical realities and moral thinking.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/ojls/gqv026
Additional information: Article is open access. Full text compliant.
Uncontrolled keywords: Abortion Act 1967, Offences Against the Person Act 1861, abortion law, unlawful procurement of miscarriage, decriminalisation
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sarah Saines
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2015 16:41 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:29 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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