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Browsing by Subject "Reproductive rights"

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  • Sundell, Caisa (2023)
    In the last several decades, the abortion debate has grown increasingly controversial and polarized worldwide. The citizens’ initiative OwnWill2020, which aimed to update the Finnish Act on Induced Abortion, sparked the discussion in Finland as well. By examining abortion discourse in the Finnish parliament, this thesis aims to get a view of the meanings of abortion in Finland at this time of legislative change. The material consists of the speeches in the minutes of the referral debate on the citizens’ initiative OwnWill2020. These are analyzed by Norman Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis framework. The thesis draws on concepts such as biopower and subject positions from Michel Foucault. These concepts, together with feminist and feminist Foucauldian theory on the politics of the body and reproductive rights, situate the debate on reproductive rights as a site of power and negotiation. The findings revealed three main abortion discourses: the self-determination discourse, the child’s rights discourse and the woman’s well-being discourse. The most significant difference in the discourses was their meanings of the embryo/fetus. Two of the discourses were built on biopower, while the third discourse criticized it. By ascribing subject positions to the pregnant person and the embryo/fetus, the three abortion discourses produce new norms of pregnancy and motherhood. The results of the thesis suggest that Finland’s position as a model country in gender equality is questionable, at least based on the utterances of Finnish Members of Parliament.