Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Scopus Web of Science® Altmetric
Type: Journal article
Title: From immorality to public health: Thalidomide and the debate for legal abortion in Australia
Author: Parker, C.
Citation: Social History of Medicine, 2012; 25(4):863-880
Publisher: Oxford Univ Press
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0951-631X
Statement of
Clare Parker
Abstract: In the early 1960s, a sudden increase in the number of babies born with serious physical deformities was traced to the popular sedative drug thalidomide. In addition to discussions of treatment and compensation for surviving children, the ethical considerations surrounding abortion and infanticide were enduring themes in contemporary debates about thalidomide. This paper examines those arguments, and the extent to which they affected the legalisation of abortion that occurred in South Australia in the late 1960s, following the lead of Britain. While thalidomide did not directly initiate the push for abortion law reform, the reformers’ cause was greatly assisted by the prominence given to the issue. Abortion could no longer be considered merely a desperate measure for poor or ‘loose’ women (which was far from the reality): it was now firmly on the agenda as something that any woman, of any class, might find herself requiring under certain circumstances.
Keywords: Thalidomide; abortion; law reform; South Australia
Rights: © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0020122857
DOI: 10.1093/shm/hks036
Appears in Collections:History publications

Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.