Medical Anthropology Quarterly

Elise Andaya*, Joanna Mishtal


Abstract: Women’s right to legal abortion in the U.S. is now facing its greatest social and legislative challenges since its 1973 legalization. Legislation restricting rights and access to abortion care has been passed at state and federal levels at an unprecedented rate. Given the renewed vigor of anti-abortion movements, we call on anthropologists to engage with this shifting landscape of reproductive politics. This article examines recent legislation that has severely limited abortion access and maps possible directions for future anthropological analysis. We argue that anthropology can provide unique contributions to broader abortion research. The study of abortion politics in the U.S. today is not only a rich opportunity for applied and policy-oriented ethnographic research. It also provides a sharply focused lens onto broader theoretical concerns in anthropology, as well as new social formations across moral, medical, political, and scientific fields in 21st century America.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff