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POLITICIZING REPRODUCTION IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE: OTTOMAN, TURKISH, AND FRENCH APPROACHES TO ABORTION LAW

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In this essay I discuss modern abortion legislation in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and France. Using late nineteenth and early twentieth century fears of population decline and "race suicide" as a starting point, the first half of the essay examines the relationship between nationalist or authoritarian state formation and the criminalization of abortion in all three states. The second half of the paper discusses the gradual de-criminalization of abortion after the Second World War and its relationship to twentieth century rights rhetoric. In this essay I argue that both the criminalization and de-criminalization of abortion in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and France were central to modern citizenship formation, each process equally essential to the increasing politicization of reproductive behavior over the modern period. At the same time, I also argue that legislators in all three states looked back to unique "traditions" to serve as foundations for their post-eighteenth century laws—Ottoman and Turkish jurists making use of medieval and early modern debates in the Islamic world surrounding abortion and French jurists making use of an equally well-established Catholic tradition.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156920807781787653
2007-04-01
2015-01-29

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