Abortion, Selﬂ essness and “Happy Objects”
DOI link for Abortion, Selﬂ essness and “Happy Objects”
Abortion, Selﬂ essness and “Happy Objects” book
Women who have abortions seemingly act in contradiction to the normative life path that casts pregnant women, as Lauren Berlant so eloquently writes, “in advance as already a mother embarked on a life trajectory of mothering.”3 A woman’s want for an abortion is therefore profoundly threatening to the myriad social, cultural, and aff ective investments in a naturalized maternal-centered identity for women. This chapter argues that public speech on abortion restores aborting women to the norm of motherhood, examining how ideas about women’s happiness circulate around and produce the ﬁ gure of the aborting woman in a very speciﬁ c way. I focus here on two parliamentary debates that gave women in Australia more lawful choices in relation to abortion in the mid-2000s. Instead of deﬁ ning abortion as a woman’s rejection of motherhood, or as freeing women from coerced motherhood, we will see that parliamentarians supported liberal changes to abortion law by asserting that aborting women were temporarily and inescapably held back from maternal happiness.4 Parliamentarians supported fewer legal restrictions on abortion by recuperating abortion to a maternal sensibility, restating this norm in the process.