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Macro- and Micro-Political Vernaculizations of Rights:Human Rights and Abortion Discourses in Northern Ireland

Pierson, CE and Bloomer, F (2017) Macro- and Micro-Political Vernaculizations of Rights:Human Rights and Abortion Discourses in Northern Ireland. Health and Human Rights, 19 (1). pp. 173-185. ISSN 1079-0969

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Abstract

How abortion is dealt with in law and policy is shaped through the multiple political and societal discourses on the issue within a particular society. Debate on abortion is constantly in ux, with progressive and regressive movements witnessed globally. is paper examines the translation of human rights norms into discourses on abortion in Northern Ireland, a region where abortion is highly restricted, with extensive contemporary public debate into potential liberalization of abortion law. is paper emanates from research examining political debates on abortion in Northern Ireland and contrasts ndings with recent civil society developments, identifying competing narratives of human rights with regard to abortion at the macro- and micro-political level. e paper identi es the complexities of using human rights as a lobbying tool, and questions the utility of rights-based arguments in furthering abortion law reform. e paper concludes that a legalistic rights-based approach may have limited e cacy in creating a more nuanced debate and perspective on abortion in Northern Ireland but that it has particular resonance in arguing for limited reform in extreme cases.

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