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|Title:||From immorality to public health: Thalidomide and the debate for legal abortion in Australia|
|Citation:||Social History of Medicine, 2012; 25(4):863-880|
|Publisher:||Oxford Univ Press|
|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.|
|Appears in Collections:||History publications|
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