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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Examining how issues are framed in policy discourse illuminates the structure of ethical arguments and the social and political context within which these arguments are made. In the United States, reproductive discourse and policymaking display four contours. First, deemed a legitimate topic for government intervention, reproduction policy has most often been gendered and group-specific. Second, the issue category into which reproduction is placed is a critical factor in policy intervention: Is reproduction a matter of health, gender equality, or religious liberty? Third, in reproductive policymaking, abortion has taken on the role of master subissue, shaping approaches to reproductive issues and in some cases standing in for the larger range of reproductive matters. Finally, lack of understanding of the medical and technological factors related to reproduction among policymakers and the public makes policymaking difficult and augments abortion’s discursive power.

Keywords: discourse, reproductive ethics, abortion, issue categorization, public policy, framing, synecdoche, categorization

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