The Precarious Unity of Feminist Theory and Practice: The Praxis of Abortion

University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 85, 1986

24 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2008

See all articles by Brenda Cossman

Brenda Cossman

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 13, 2008

Abstract

The abortion issue has, in fact, become the situs of open gender conflict. For the pro-choice movement, it is part of the battle for reproductive freedom and is fundamental to the final emancipation of women. For the antiabortion movement, it symbolizes the re-articulation of the traditional patriarchal family. The fundamental tension in pro-choice politics is apparent. The language of pro-choice advocacy is the language by which the goal of universal access to abortion services is most likely to be realized. However, in pre-empting an analysis of the underlying source of women's subordination, the language will provide abortion in a manner that is consistent with the male reproductive and sexual consciousness. Thus, the short-term politics of the pro-choice movement are in contradiction to the long-term feminist objective of transcending domination. The concern is, in other words, with establishing a praxis of reproductive politics, that is, a practice of reproductive politics that proceeds from a firm foundation in feminist theory.'

The purpose of this analysis is twofold. It first attempts to establish a feminist theoretical framework, within which the general subordination of women and the current abortion debate in particular can be understood. Second; it examines whether the short-term strategies of pro-choice politics are consistent with the long-term feminist objective of transcending subordination.

Suggested Citation

Cossman, Brenda, The Precarious Unity of Feminist Theory and Practice: The Praxis of Abortion (August 13, 2008). University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 85, 1986. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1223123

Brenda Cossman (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-6658 (Phone)

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