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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

While societies necessarily have stakes in their own perpetuation, the extent to which their female members have managed to control their bodily integrity and reproduction has varied throughout history. This chapter discusses the circumstances under which women have succeeded in retaining authority over their bodily integrity and reproduction, and when this control has been conceptualized as a “right.” It offers an analysis of the impact of official population policies, biopower, biopolitics, and neoliberalism in enabling or deterring women from exercising reproductive autonomy. The chapter also reflects upon global challenges to reproductive autonomy and asks whether the more comprehensive notion of reproductive justice provides a superior framework to that of a rights-based paradigm for understanding the broad range of threats to women’s reproductive freedom today.

Keywords: abortion, biopolitics, neoliberalism, population policies, reproductive justice, reproductive rights

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