Representing Abortion: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Representing Abortion

1st Edition

Edited by Rachel Alpha Johnston Hurst


288 pages

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Hardback: 9780367860417
pub: 2020-08-15
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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. This creative work is significant as it challenges 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 antiabortion 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.

This is an innovative and challenging collection that will be of key interest for scholars studying reproductive rights and reproductive justice; and 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.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


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 –Towards Reproductive Justice

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:" Coatlicue State and 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

Contributor Bios


About the Editor

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 (MQUP, 2015) and co-editor of Skin, Culture, and Psychoanalysis (Palgrave, 2013).  Her most recent essays have been published in History of Photography, Feminist Studies, Configurations, and Body & Society. 

About the Series

Interdisciplinary Research in Gender

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Abortion & Birth Control