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The unravelling of a `woman's right to choose'
Reproductive health politics from abortion to genetics


This workshop will explore feminist analyses of developments in the politics and practices in reproductive health since the 1970s. The Women's Movement of that time is perhaps best remembered for the slogan `a woman's right to choose'. However it rapidly became clear that the language of rights and choice was not without its problems.

Coming together on similarities was energising and liberating for many women in the early days. That solidarity started to fragment as differences emerged. Black women challenged the premise on which the pro-abortion movement came together; other women argued that it was inadequate to lobby on a single issue in reproductive health; and disabled women remained marginalised for many years to come.

Women from York were particularly active in setting up the splinter campaign called Women's Reproductive Rights Campaign, and York was the headquarters of this active multi-issue national campaigning group for several years. York women were also active in the Feminist International Network Against Reproductive and Genetic Engineering.

This workshop will hear from several of those women who will talk about their experiences and explore with workshop participants the complexities of the issues arising in reproductive health right through to current dilemmas facing women around assisted conception and genetics. Coming together on similarities as women, while managing and respecting our differences, will be the theme.

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