Feminism on the frontier: the history of abortion law reform in 1973 in the Northern Territory, Australia

Barbara Baird, Suzanne Belton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    In 1973, the Northern Territory (NT) criminal law relating to abortion was reformed. The NT was one of only two Australian jurisdictions where the 1970s liberalisation of abortion was enabled by legislative reform. Unlike the 1969 South Australian reform, the NT bill was sponsored by a female, and feminist, parliamentarian, Dawn Lawrie, assisted by a small group of supporters. This article recovers the narrative of this pioneering reform achieved in a place dominated by white men. It argues that this achievement was enabled by the NT’s individualistic culture, its history of white women’s activism and the mood for progressive change in 1970s Australia. It contextualises the reform by keeping the position of Indigenous women, including the public opposition of some to abortion reform, clearly in view, thus keeping race at the centre of the analysis of liberal feminist reforms and of white feminism in the NT in the early 1970s.

    LanguageEnglish
    Pages139-158
    Number of pages20
    JournalWomen's History Review
    Volume28
    Issue number1
    Early online date24 Apr 2018
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

    Fingerprint

    law reform
    feminism
    abortion
    reform
    history
    criminal law
    bill
    mood
    small group
    liberalization
    Abortion
    Feminism
    Law Reform
    Northern Territory
    History
    jurisdiction
    opposition
    narrative
    1970s

    Cite this

    @article{2337796c3fea4a978f532da71567d650,
    title = "Feminism on the frontier: the history of abortion law reform in 1973 in the Northern Territory, Australia",
    abstract = "In 1973, the Northern Territory (NT) criminal law relating to abortion was reformed. The NT was one of only two Australian jurisdictions where the 1970s liberalisation of abortion was enabled by legislative reform. Unlike the 1969 South Australian reform, the NT bill was sponsored by a female, and feminist, parliamentarian, Dawn Lawrie, assisted by a small group of supporters. This article recovers the narrative of this pioneering reform achieved in a place dominated by white men. It argues that this achievement was enabled by the NT’s individualistic culture, its history of white women’s activism and the mood for progressive change in 1970s Australia. It contextualises the reform by keeping the position of Indigenous women, including the public opposition of some to abortion reform, clearly in view, thus keeping race at the centre of the analysis of liberal feminist reforms and of white feminism in the NT in the early 1970s.",
    author = "Barbara Baird and Suzanne Belton",
    year = "2019",
    month = "1",
    day = "2",
    doi = "10.1080/09612025.2018.1464481",
    language = "English",
    volume = "28",
    pages = "139--158",
    journal = "Women's History Review",
    issn = "0961-2025",
    publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
    number = "1",

    }

    Feminism on the frontier : the history of abortion law reform in 1973 in the Northern Territory, Australia. / Baird, Barbara; Belton, Suzanne.

    In: Women's History Review, Vol. 28, No. 1, 02.01.2019, p. 139-158.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Feminism on the frontier

    T2 - Women's History Review

    AU - Baird,Barbara

    AU - Belton,Suzanne

    PY - 2019/1/2

    Y1 - 2019/1/2

    N2 - In 1973, the Northern Territory (NT) criminal law relating to abortion was reformed. The NT was one of only two Australian jurisdictions where the 1970s liberalisation of abortion was enabled by legislative reform. Unlike the 1969 South Australian reform, the NT bill was sponsored by a female, and feminist, parliamentarian, Dawn Lawrie, assisted by a small group of supporters. This article recovers the narrative of this pioneering reform achieved in a place dominated by white men. It argues that this achievement was enabled by the NT’s individualistic culture, its history of white women’s activism and the mood for progressive change in 1970s Australia. It contextualises the reform by keeping the position of Indigenous women, including the public opposition of some to abortion reform, clearly in view, thus keeping race at the centre of the analysis of liberal feminist reforms and of white feminism in the NT in the early 1970s.

    AB - In 1973, the Northern Territory (NT) criminal law relating to abortion was reformed. The NT was one of only two Australian jurisdictions where the 1970s liberalisation of abortion was enabled by legislative reform. Unlike the 1969 South Australian reform, the NT bill was sponsored by a female, and feminist, parliamentarian, Dawn Lawrie, assisted by a small group of supporters. This article recovers the narrative of this pioneering reform achieved in a place dominated by white men. It argues that this achievement was enabled by the NT’s individualistic culture, its history of white women’s activism and the mood for progressive change in 1970s Australia. It contextualises the reform by keeping the position of Indigenous women, including the public opposition of some to abortion reform, clearly in view, thus keeping race at the centre of the analysis of liberal feminist reforms and of white feminism in the NT in the early 1970s.

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85046007482&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1080/09612025.2018.1464481

    DO - 10.1080/09612025.2018.1464481

    M3 - Article

    VL - 28

    SP - 139

    EP - 158

    JO - Women's History Review

    JF - Women's History Review

    SN - 0961-2025

    IS - 1

    ER -