Internalised abortion stigma: Young women’s strategies of resistance and rejection

Hoggart, Lesley (2017). Internalised abortion stigma: Young women’s strategies of resistance and rejection. Feminism and Psychology, 27(2) pp. 186–202.



This paper examines the ways in which young women articulated strategies of resistance to internalised abortion stigma. It does so through secondary analysis of young women’s narratives from two qualitative studies in England and Wales. Whilst participants felt stigmatised by their abortion[s] in different ways, many also resisted stigmatisation. They did this through different stigma resistance strategies that were shaped by a number of different interactions: their socio-economic situations, family and relationships contexts, the circumstances in which they became pregnant, and their beliefs and values with respect to abortion and motherhood. Being able to construct their abortion decision as morally sound was an important element of stigma resistance. Although socio-cultural norms and values on abortion, reproduction, and motherhood were shown to constrain women’s reproductive choices, these norms were all open to challenge. The women were more likely to struggle with their abortion decision-making when they had internalised negativity around abortion.

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