Reproductive decision-making in comparative perspective

Isabel Heinemann, Johanna Schoen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Reproductive decision-making has been highly contested in Western countries and can thus serve as an illustration through which to trace changing norms, values, family concepts and gender roles. This special issue investigates public debates regarding legal abortion and women's changing options for decision-making in the US, Germany, Sweden and Ireland as well as transnational abortion travels since the 1960s. After gaining the right to abortion, women have had to contend with a political and legislative backlash that has threatened to undermine access to abortion care. While women have not been perceived as responsible decision-makers, they have vigorously claimed the right to make their own reproductive decisions. The introduction to this special issue proposes a comparative approach to analyse the impact that political shifts since the 1960s have had on reproductive policies and women's access to abortion. We follow the similarities and differences in national policies, legal frameworks, moral codes, and individual agency in different Western countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Modern European History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History


  • Western societies
  • contraception
  • legal abortion
  • reproductive decision-making
  • reproductive rights


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