Aborting Global Women’s Rights: The Boundaries of Women’s Representation in American Foreign Policy


Angevine, Sara. 2020. "Aborting Global Women's Rights: The Boundaries of Women's Representation in American Foreign Policy". Politics & Gender. doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000112.

Author: Sara Angevine


American foreign policy has expanded in recent years to address issues that affect women and girls worldwide, global women’s rights, yet there has been minimal investigation into how these representative claims for women worldwide are formed and the substantive U.S. commitment. Is this a reflection of a growing American feminist foreign policy or symbolic rhetoric for domestic audiences? To better understand the representation of global women’s rights in American foreign policy, I analyze the political context behind three widely supported American foreign policy bills focusing on women that were introduced during the 111th Congress (2009–10). Each of these bills failed to become statute. Drawing from qualitative comparative case study analysis, I show how antiabortion politics constrain the legislative success of any American foreign policy legislation that focuses on women, regardless of relevance. This suggests that foreign women’s bodies are a terrain for U.S. legislators to advance abortion policy objectives with minimal electoral constraint. Although advancing women’s rights furthers broader U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as preventing terrorism and growing market economies, domestic abortion politics shape the boundaries of how global women’s rights are represented in American foreign policy.

Keywords: women, foreign policy, global women's rights, Congress, representation, feminist foreign policy, gender, abortion, foreign policy analysis

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2020

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