'More than a defence against bills': feminism and national identity in the Scottish abortion campaign, c. 1975–1990

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Abstract

In 1967, the Abortion Act was passed which legalised terminations conducted by a doctor between the first and twenty-fourth week of pregnancy in Britain. Despite having abortion legalised in law, the cultural shift from the prejudiced to permissive took far longer to arrive, and women continued to face barriers to their reproductive autonomy in the 1970s and 1980s. The inequalities in abortion healthcare were most pronounced in Scotland, prompting the emergence of the Scottish Abortion Campaign in 1980. This article explores the role of the Scottish Abortion Campaign and their efforts to defend and extend the Abortion Act of 1967 in post-legalisation Scotland. Through archival research and oral testimony, this article demonstrates that the SAC operated semi-autonomously from the broader National Abortion Campaign, demonstrating a distinctive, Scottish feminist identity that influenced their activities during this period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-612
Number of pages19
JournalWomen's History Review
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • history
  • oral history
  • feminism
  • sexuality
  • abortion
  • contraception
  • activism
  • Scotland

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