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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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Medical Interests and Priorities

Medical Interests and Priorities

(p.66) Three Medical Interests and Priorities
Doctors and Demonstrators

Drew Halfmann

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the differing engagement of the medical associations with abortion politics by focusing on the ways in which they constructed their “interests” and priorities in the context of national medical-care systems. The chapter speaks of how the British and Canadian reforms delegated responsibility for abortion to the medical profession, removing the issue from public decision making and confining it to a realm in which decisions were made “neutrally” on the basis of “knowledge.” By contrast, the American reform made abortion a public issue decided on the basis of “values.” Finally, the minimal involvement of American mainstream medicine in abortion provision reduced the availability of abortions by concentrating provision in single-purpose clinics in large cities and being served by doctors that were often stigmatized by their mainstream peers. British abortion services were better distributed and better integrated into mainstream medicine, though Canadian ones were not.

Keywords:   medical associations, abortion politics, medical-care systems, medical profession, mainstream medicine, single-purpose clinics

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