Shaping Abortion Discourse: Democracy and the Public Sphere in Germany and the United States

By Myra Marx Ferree; William Anthony Gamson et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Two Related Stories

Es [das sich im Mutterleib entwickelnde Leben] genießt grundsätzlich für die gesamte Dauer der Schwangerschaft Vorrang vor dem Selbst best immungsrecht der Schwangeren. It [the life developing in the mother'sbody] fundamentally takes priority over the pregnant woman's right to self-determination throughout the entire period of pregnancy.

(German Constitutional Court 1975, BVerG 1,44)

The right to privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment'sconcept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action or in the Ninth Amendment'sreservation of the rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman'sdecision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

(Roe v. Wade 1973, 410 U. S. 177)

At the beginning of a new century, Germany and the United States have arrived at uneasy policy compromises on the vexed issue of abortion. The compromises are in some regards surprisingly similar: In Germany, a woman with an unwanted pregnancy can decide to have an abortion in the first trimester, although she is required to have counseling designed to encourage her to have the child. Access to abortion is relatively simple after a short waiting period. In the United States, the choice of abortion also rests with the woman in the first trimester. The 50 individual states may impose various restrictions as long as these do not place an undue burden on the woman'sdecision to end an unwanted pregnancy.

-3-

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Shaping Abortion Discourse: Democracy and the Public Sphere in Germany and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Glossary xix
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Two Related Stories 3
  • Chapter Two - Historical Context 24
  • Chapter Three - Methods 45
  • Part II - Major Outcomes 59
  • Chapter Four - The Discursive Opportunity Structure 61
  • Chapter Five - Standing 86
  • Chapter Six - Framing 105
  • Part III - Representing Different Constituencies 129
  • Chapter Seven - Representing Women's Claims 131
  • Chapter Eight - Representing Religious Claims 154
  • Chapter Nine - Representing the Tradition of the Left 179
  • Part IV - The Quality of Abortion Discourse 201
  • Chapter Ten - Normative Criteria for the Public Sphere 205
  • Chapter Eleven - Measuring the Quality of Discourse 232
  • Chapter Twelve - Metatalk 255
  • Chapter Thirteen - Lessons for Democracy and the Public Sphere 286
  • Methodological Appendix 305
  • References 325
  • Index 339
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