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The social life of abortion law: On personal and political pedagogy

Priaulx, Nicky ORCID: 2017. The social life of abortion law: On personal and political pedagogy. Medical Law Review 25 (1) , pp. 73-98. 10.1093/medlaw/fww044

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The current contribution seeks to start a conversation around our pedagogical practice in respect of abortion law. Centralising the traditional portrayal of abortion law within the medical law curriculum, the article highlights the privileging of a very particular storyline about abortion. Exploring the terrain in evaluating medical law methodologies, the paper highlights the illusion of ‘balance’, ‘objectivity’ and ‘neutrality’ that emerges from current pedagogy in light of how abortion law is framed and in particular what is excluded: women’s own voices. Focusing on a number of ‘exclusions’ and ‘silences’ and noting how closely these mirror dominant discourse in the public sphere, the paper highlights the irony of a curriculum that reflects, rather than challenges, these discursive gaps. Arguing that the setting of a curriculum is inevitably political, ambitions for delivering a programme around abortion that is ‘neutral’, ‘objective’ or ‘balanced’ are dismissed. Instead, highlighting the problems of what is currently excluded, how materials are ordered and the tacit hierarchies that lend legitimacy and authority to a particular way of ‘knowing’ abortion, the paper argues for a new curriculum and a new storyline – one which is supported by prior learning in feminist legal scholarship and a medical law curriculum in which the social, historical, geographical and above all, personal is ever-present and central.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Cardiff Centre for Ethics, Law and Society (CCELS)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0967-0742
Date of Acceptance: 11 November 2016
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 09:41

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