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Abortion in England, 1861-1967

  • Start date: 01 February 2008
  • End date: 31 January 2009

Dr Jones's research examines abortion in England from the late nineteenth century through to its (partial) legalisation in 1967. Setting abortion in its social and cultural context, the research pays particular attention to the impact of social class, gender and locality on shaping abortion practices and to change and continuity in practices and attitudes over time. A wide range of sources are exploited to reveal how different kinds of narrative and meaning around illegal abortion have been mediated through the conventions of the courtroom, in the rhetoric of the medical profession and reformers, and deployed in the press and popular culture. The research addresses neglected themes in the current historiography, notably the issue of extra-marital conceptions and the role of men in abortion, and will be developed to provide some historical perspective on contemporary policy concerns, including the social, economic and cultural context of contraceptive practices, stigma, and barriers to the accessing of advice and services.