YOUNG WOMEN, PREGNANCY, AND ABORTION IN BRITAIN: A DISCUSSION OF ‘LAW IN PRACTICE’
Author: Lee, Ellie
Source: International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Volume 18, Number 3, December 2004 , pp. 283-304(22)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:This contribution draws primarily on findings of an interview study with a group of young women living in Britain who conceived a pregnancy when aged under 18. Through discussion of their narratives, it aims to provide insights about areas of young women’s experience that legal scholars have highlighted as potentially problematic under the current legal framework; namely involvement of parents when those aged under 16 seek medical treatment, and the provision of abortion to under 18s. The broader aim here is to provide comment on the gap between abortion law ‘on paper’, and ‘in practice’. The paper finds that abortion law in Britain operates in practice in a way that differs from what might be expected on the basis of its terms on paper, in that most young women are unlikely to encounter major difficulties when accessing abortion. Nevertheless a key criticism made of the law by legal scholars – that it medicalizes abortion – emerges as having continuing validity, and the conclusion is drawn that the rules that regulate abortion in Britain should remain subject to challenge.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: School of Social Policy, Sociology, and Social Research, University of Kent.
Publication date: 2004-12-01
- The subject matter of the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family comprises the following: analyses of the law relating to the family which carry an interest beyond the jurisdiction dealt with, or which are of a comparative nature; theoretical analyses of family law; sociological literature concerning the family which is of special interest to law and legal policy; social policy literature of special interest to law and the family; literature in related disciplines (such as medicine, psychology, demography) which is of special relevance to law and the family; research findings in the above areas; reviews of books and relevant reports. The journal has a flexible policy as to length of contributions, so that substantial research reports can be included.