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From Immorality to Public Health: Thalidomide and the Debate for Legal Abortion in Australia

Parker, Clare (2012) From Immorality to Public Health: Thalidomide and the Debate for Legal Abortion in Australia. Social History of Medicine, 25 (4). pp. 863-880. ISSN 0951-631X. (doi:10.1093/shm/hks036) (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)

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. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1093/shm/hks036

Abstract

In the early 1960s, a sudden increase in the number of babies born with serious physical deformities was traced to the popular sedative drug thalidomide. In addition to discussions of treatment and compensation for surviving children, the ethical considerations surrounding abortion and infanticide were enduring themes in contemporary debates about thalidomide. This paper examines those arguments, and the extent to which they affected the legalisation of abortion that occurred in South Australia in the late 1960s, following the lead of Britain. While thalidomide did not directly initiate the push for abortion law reform, the reformers' cause was greatly assisted by the prominence given to the issue. Abortion could no longer be considered merely a desperate measure for poor or ‘loose’ women (which was far from the reality): it was now firmly on the agenda as something that any woman, of any class, might find herself requiring under certain circumstances.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/shm/hks036
Uncontrolled keywords: thalidomide ; abortion ; law reform ; South Australia
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Sarah Slowe
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 04:24 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:31 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56109 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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