Perspectives: Abortion and Genocide: The Unbridgeable Gap


Jessica, Woolford, and Woolford Andrew. 2007. “Perspectives: Abortion and Genocide: The Unbridgeable Gap.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 14 (1): 126–53.

Authors: Jessica Woolford, Andrew Woolford


This article examines The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's claim that abortion is genocide, assessing it against legal, trait-based and “dynamic process” definitions of genocide. The purpose of this exercise is not to give credence to what many consider an outrageous claim, nor is it to merely refute this claim based upon a close reading of existing definitions of genocide; instead, by subjecting The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's claim to an ethical and performative evaluation, our goal is to illustrate how the term genocide can be “misused.” In the end, we argue that The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform uses the term genocide for its own totalizing and essentializing purposes, and in doing so engages in practices that share an affinity with the exclusionary discourses that help make genocide thinkable.

Topics: Genocide, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2007

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