Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/92784
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Type: Journal article
Title: ‘TOO MANY’ : anxious white nationalism and the biopolitics of abortion
Author: Millar, E.
Citation: Australian Feminist Studies, 2015; 30(83):82-98
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0816-4649
1465-3303
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Erica Millar
Abstract: The statement that Australia has ‘too many abortions’ often circulates with intensity in times of increased worry over the vulnerability of white demographic and sociocultural dominance in Australia. Contrasting two such periods—the 1970s (with 1979 as the apex point) and the mid-2000s (2002–2008)—this article will show that, in times of national crisis, debates over abortion can become a site where politicians, journalists and other influential social commentators displace and assuage anxieties regarding the size and constitution of Australia's future population. The statement that Australia has ‘too many abortions’ carries the imperative for white women to reproduce the nation. This demand is made perceptible through a history of maternal citizenship for white women, which reverberates in the present, and the articulation of the desire to eradicate abortion (amongst white women) alongside other key biopolitical technologies—the disavowal of Indigenous sovereignty and the exclusion of non-white immigrants from the nation. The figure of the aborting woman thus stands alongside other bodies perceived as threats to white sociocultural hegemony in Australia and one of its key institutions—the white, hetero-family. In the 1970s, such figures included the communist, the divorcee and the (non-white) immigrant, and in the 2000s, the lesbian mother, the single mother and the boatperson. The association of aborting women with other threats to the security of white sociocultural hegemony in Australia produces her as an object of fear for the nation, re-affirming the goal of white reproduction as a national duty and social good.
Rights: © 2015 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0030028067
DOI: 10.1080/08164649.2014.998457
Appears in Collections:Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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