Kerstin Nebel and Steffen Hurka

in On the Road to Permissiveness?

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780198743989
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191803987 | DOI:

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This chapter analyses the changing styles of abortion policy in nineteen European countries between 1960 and 2010. First, it empirically identifies a long-term cross-national development towards permissiveness in the morality policy, which is characterized by less restrictive rules for pregnant women and decreasing sanctions for rule violations. However, a closer examination reveals that these movements were often the result of multiple reform steps, undertaken separately on the rules and sanctions dimension. By compensating policy changes on one dimension with temporal policy stability on the other, states have managed to reform an area of public policy that is commonly considered immune to compromise. Policy developments in Great Britain (the Abortion Act 1967), which serves as a typical case in the context of our theoretical framework, and Switzerland, which deviates from our expectations, are analysed to extract explanatory factors for changing styles of moral regulation regarding termination of pregnancy.

Keywords: abortion policy; termination of pregnancy; public policy; policy change; morality policy; moral regulation; Abortion Act 1967

Chapter.  8276 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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