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Doctors and DemonstratorsHow Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain, and Canada$
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Drew Halfmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226313429

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226313443.001.0001

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The Reforms and Their Roots

The Reforms and Their Roots

(p.34) (p.35) Two The Reforms and Their Roots
Doctors and Demonstrators

Drew Halfmann

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the reforms involving medical gatekeeping done in the United States, Britain, and Canada in more detail and explains the differences between them by showing how social actors—social movements and political parties—interacted with political institutions such as state-level policy making, nonpartisan parliamentary processes, and constitutional courts. The three countries mentioned here answered the gatekeeping question differently. The United States largely abandoned medical gatekeeping, allowing early abortion for a woman’s own reasons and in any setting as long as a single doctor agreed to provide it. The other two countries, on the other hand, maintained medical gatekeeping. Britain widened the grounds for legal abortions, while Canadian reform allowed abortions only for grounds of “health” and required that they be provided in hospitals after approval by a committee.

Keywords:   medical gatekeeping, United States, Britain, Canada, social actors, political institutions, early abortion, legal abortions

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