Toward normalising abortion: Findings from a qualitative secondary analysis study

Carrie Purcell, Karen Maxwell, Fiona K. Bloomer, Sam Rowlands, Lesley Hoggart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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In most settings worldwide, abortion continues to be highly stigmatised. Whilst a considerable body of literature has addressed abortion stigma, what is less commonly examined are the ways in which those with experience of abortion describe it in non-negative terms which may resist or reject stigma. Drawing on qualitative secondary analysis of five UK datasets using a narrative inquiry approach, we explore: the use of non-negative language around abortion, potential components of a normalising narrative, and constraints on non-negativity. As such, we present the first empirical UK study to critically examine how a dominant negative abortion narrative might be disrupted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1364
Number of pages16
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number12
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This Sexuality and Abortion Stigma Study (SASS) was supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant no. 207878/Z/17/Z) and hosted by the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow (funding codes MC_UU_12017/11 and SPHSU11). The authors thank the participants in the original studies, the original researchers who generously shared their data and expertise, and the SASS project advisory group for their guidance on the development of our analysis. We thank Jeni Harden, University of Edinburgh, for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and participants in the SASS symposium at the 2018 Abortion and Reproductive Justice conference (Rhodes University, South Africa) where we first presented these findings.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Abortion
  • UK
  • abortion stigma
  • normalising abortion
  • qualitative secondary analysis (QSA)


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