Critical and Radical Social Work
An international journal

Reproductive justice, abortion rights and social work

Author: Liz Beddoe1
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  • 1 University of Auckland, , New Zealand
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Reproductive justice is essential in the struggle to remove health inequalities. Currently, escalating threats to reproductive rights are rarely discussed in contemporary social work literature. Discomfort in the profession about addressing challenges to abortion rights exposes a lack of courage to treat abortion as essential healthcare. A case study of several abortion-focused articles and chapters reveals a strand of ambivalence about taking a progressive stance on abortion. Recent trends demonstrate that reproductive rights cannot be taken for granted. Even when law reform removes some of the barriers to safe, legal abortion, abortion stigma and anti-choice harassment remain potent threats to reproductive autonomy. A case is made for reproductive justice to be central in our drive for health equality. This requires a feminist perspective, moving away from seeing women as merely the object of the social work gaze, too often the focus of scrutiny and judgement.

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  • 1 University of Auckland, , New Zealand

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