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The Polish Parliament and the making of politics through abortion : nation, gender and democracy in the 1996 Liberalization Amendment Debate

By Anne-Marie Caroline Kramer

Abstract

The collapse of communism across East Central Europe was marked by a renewal of debates around reproduction, with abortion debates surfacing in Romania, Germany and Poland. Reproductive politics and more specifically abortion debates typically come to the forefront in times of crisis or societal transformation. Struggles over women's reproductive rights in Poland, as evidenced by continuing debate around the legal status of abortion, are in this postcommunist context intimately related to and bound up with ongoing symbolic and concrete re-definitions of Polish nationhood, identity and citizenship. Focusing on the connections between discourses of Polish nationhood, gender and democracy, this article offers a detailed and critical engagement with debate in the Sejm (the lower chamber of the Polish parliament) during the second reading of the 1996 liberalization of abortion amendment. Using a discourse analysis methodology, the article argues that abortion is a symbolic issue through which anxieties about postcommunist reform are raised, nationalist pasts and futures are imagined and through which political projects are articulated

Topics: HQ
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:679

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