Leslie Cannold: Writer, Commentator, Ethicist, Researcher

Understanding and Responding to Anti-Choice Women-centred Strategies

This paper discusses the rise and use of a ‘woman-centred’ anti-choice strategy to oppose abortion in Australia and the USA. It argues that this strategy seeks to imitate and exploit aspects of the pro-choice, women-centred position on abortion. The strategy contends that women do not really choose abortion but are pressured into it by others and then experience a range of negative effects afterwards, including an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility and post-abortion grief. Rather than evaluate the truth of such claims, this paper seeks to explicate from a feminist perspective the design, intent and implications of this strategy and how it is being used in legislative tactics, counselling, law suits and anti-choice activism. Such an analysis is necessary for pro-choice efforts to respond effectively to this new strategy, not only through literal rebuttals based on evidence, but also through responses that counter its ideological power.

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