1st Edition

Representing Abortion

Edited By Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst Copyright 2021
    270 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Representing Abortion analyses how artists, writers, performers, and activists make abortion visible, audible, and palpable within contexts dominated by anti-abortion imagery centred on the fetus and the erasure of the pregnant person, challenging the polarisation of conversations about abortion.

    This book illuminates the manifold ways that abortion is depicted and narrated by artists, performers, clinicians, writers, and activists. This representational work offers nuanced and complex understandings of abortion, personally and politically. Analyses of such representations are urgently needed as access to abortion is diminished and anti-abortion representations of the fetus continue to dominate the cultural horizon for thinking about abortion. Expanding the frame of reference for understanding abortion beyond the anti-abortion use of the fetal image, contributors to this collection push beyond narrow abstractions to examine representations of the experience and procedure of abortion within grounded histories, politics, and social contexts.

    The collection is organized into sections around seeing (and not seeing) abortion; fetal materiality; abortion storytelling and memoir; and representations for new arguments. These themes cover a range of topics including abortion visibility, anti-abortion discourse, pro-choice engagements with the fetus, personal experience and media representations. The analyses of such representations counteract anti-abortion rhetoric, carving out space for new arguments for abortion that are more representative and inclusive and asking audiences to envision new ways to advocate for safe abortion access through reproductive justice frameworks.

    This is an innovative and challenging collection that will be of key interest for scholars studying reproductive rights and reproductive justice, as well as women and gender studies. Representing Abortion is organized to structure upper year undergraduate and graduate courses on reproductive rights and reproductive justice in a new and engaging way.


    List of Figures

    List of Contributors


    Chapter One: Representing Abortion

    Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst

    Part One: Seeing (And Not Seeing) Abortion

    Chapter Two: Secrets

    Rachel Marie-Crane Williams

    Chapter Three: It’s A Boy! Borted: Fetal Bodies, Graphic Abortion, and the Option to Look

    Jeannie Ludlow

    Chapter Four: Museums and the Material Culture of Abortion

    Manon S. Parry

    Chapter Five: Who’s Late?: Degrassi, Abortion, History

    Michele Byers

    Part Two: Fetal Materiality

    Chapter Six: Representing the Cause: The Strategic Rebranding of the Anti-Abortion Movement in Canada

    Kelly Gordon and Paul Saurette

    Chapter Seven: Visual Realignment? The Shifting Visual Terrains of Anti-Abortion Strategies in the Republic of Ireland

    Katherine Side

    Chapter Eight: Look Like A Provider: Representing the Materiality of the Fetus in Abortion Care Work

    Lena Hann and Jeannie Ludlow

    Chapter Nine: Dressing Up the Mizuko Jizō: Materializing the Aborted Fetus in Japan

    Aurore Yamagata-Montoya

    Chapter Ten: Rattling Your Rage: Humour, Provocation, and the SisterSerpents

    Claire L. Kovacs

    Part Three: Abortion Storytelling and Memoir

    Chapter Eleven: Abortion for Beginners

    T. L. Cowan

    Chapter Twelve: All Politics are Reproductive: Abortion and Environment in Marianne Apostolides’ Deep Salt Water

    Heather Latimer

    Chapter Thirteen: From Compulsion to Choice? The Changing Representations of Abortion in India

    Sucharita Sarkar

    Chapter Fourteen: Underground Women’s State: Polish Struggles for Abortion Rights

    Dagmara Rode

    Part Four: Representations for New Arguments

    Chapter Fifteen: "What You Do Hurts All of Us!" When Women Confront Women Through Pro-Life Rhetoric

    Jennifer Scuro

    Chapter Sixteen: "This is How I was Born on the Operating Table of an Abortion Clinic": Reproductive Decision-Making in Teatro Luna

    Melissa Huerta

    Chapter Seventeen: Abortion and the Ideology of Love in Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School and Don Quixote, Which Was a Dream

    Yoonha Shin



    Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst is Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.  Her research is concerned with the relationships between power, embodiment, and (visual) culture, from the perspectives of psychoanalysis and decolonial thought.  She is author of Surface Imaginations: Cosmetic Surgery, Photography, and Skin (2015) and co-editor of Skin, Culture, and Psychoanalysis (2013). Her most recent essays have been published in History of Photography, Feminist Studies, Configurations, and Body & Society.