Conclusion: Comparative Abortion Politics and the Case for State Feminism

Dorothy McBride Stetson

in Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242665
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600258 | DOI:

Series: Gender and Politics

 Conclusion: Comparative Abortion Politics and the Case for State Feminism

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This chapter summarizes and analyses the findings from the comparative analysis of abortion policy debates in 11 countries. The first section describes similarities and differences in abortion politics, including how abortion reform came to the public agenda, which institutions are responsible for abortion policy, and the pattern of conflict. In the second section, the summary of frames of the abortion debates show policy makers eventually incorporating gendered ideas that promote the status, rights, and autonomy of women, leading in most cases to increased substantive and descriptive representation of women. The third section shows that most women's movements have been unified in support of women's abortion rights, but have not achieved their full demands. The fourth section reports comparative findings testing the five hypotheses of the state feminist theory, and showing conditions under which states’ women's policy agencies have helped women's movement activists achieve feminist policy and participation goals.

Keywords: abortion policy; abortion rights; descriptive representation; feminism; gender; policy‐making; state feminism; substantive representation; women's movements; women's policy agencies

Chapter.  12097 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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