The Scarlet Letter: The Supreme Court and the Language of Abortion Stigma
46 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2012 Last revised: 5 Aug 2013
Date Written: February 1, 2012
This article examines how the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence depicts abortion and the woman who seeks an abortion. It analyzes how narratives drawn from the Court’s abortion opinions attribute negative characteristics to women who decide to terminate their pregnancies. These narratives serve both expressive and normative functions, acting to re-enforce abortion stigma and narrow the constitutional legitimacy of reproductive freedom. Abortion stigma should be a concern for the Court, for its engendered judgment of women and for the burden it places on women who seek to exercise their constitutional rights.
Keywords: abortion, stigma, Supreme Court abortion narrative
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation