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Little wooden coffins: the disposal of foetal material in Swedish hospitals and its significance for abortion imagery and abortion rights
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
1995 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What I wish to do in this paper is briefly retrace the history of the National Board's recommendations, and discuss the different reactions that the recommendations received from different individuals and groups. I do this to make the more general point that by focusing on foetal material, rather than on abortion or abortion rights, the National Board of Health and Welfare perhaps unwittingly facilitated a number of subtle, but nevertheless quite significant, reconfigurations in the interpretive frameworks commonly employed in Sweden to think about abortion. Not only did the Board's recommendations effectively redefine the status of the foetus, as women and women's organizations were quick to point out. They also, simultaneously, redefined public and private understandings of the physical, temporal, affective and social relationships that are seen to exist between a foetus and the woman who bears it. In addition, the recommendations took a step towards expanding public perception of whose voices legitimately "count" in discussions about abortion. From having been seen largely as an issue of concern only to the woman, and perhaps her doctor and her partner, the National Board's recommendations introduced the idea that discussions about abortion must take account of the opinions and wishes of hospital personnel who perform them. In reviewing all these redefinitions and changes, I will be arguing that the Board's recommendations concerning the disposal of foetal material may ultimately have extremely serious repercusssions for understandings of abortion, and hence for abortion rights, in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 1995. , 12 p.
Working papers on childhood and the study of children, ISSN 1104-6929 ; 1995:6
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76006OAI: diva2:511657
Available from: 2012-03-22 Created: 2012-03-22 Last updated: 2012-03-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA