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"When she decides… the world is better, stronger, safer.” Reviewing the impact of President Trump’s revised gag order on females’ access to safe abortion in crisis, emergency and humanitarian settings

"When she decides… the world is better, stronger, safer.” Reviewing the impact of President Trump’s revised gag order on females’ access to safe abortion in crisis, emergency and humanitarian settings

Banwell, Stacy ORCID: 0000-0001-7395-2617 (2019) "When she decides… the world is better, stronger, safer.” Reviewing the impact of President Trump’s revised gag order on females’ access to safe abortion in crisis, emergency and humanitarian settings. In: NORA Conference: Border Regimes, Territorial Discourses & Feminist Politics, 22 - 24 May 2019, University of Iceland, Reykjavik. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In 2017, American President Donald Trump signed the anti-abortion Executive Order reinstating the ‘Global Gag Rule’. This order bans new funding to NGOs that provide abortion or abortion-related services. It violates the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, particularly UN Security Council Resolutions that recognise the importance of providing reproductive healthcare services to survivors of wartime rape and sexual violence. This policy can be aligned with a particular construction of the female body that equates femininity with motherhood. This gendered construction of human security will be discussed in relation to Butler’s (1990) concept of gender intelligibility and Wilcox’s (2015) work on biopolitical violence. According to Wilcox, biopolitcal violence treats bodies as either populations that must be protected or populations that must be eradicated. Historically, women (and children) - particularly those in “underdeveloped” countries - have been identified as particularly vulnerable and in need of protection during war/armed conflict and in post-conflict settings. Essentialist depictions of women place them within three overlapping categories: “vulnerable,” “mother” and “civilian” (Carpenter, 2005). Within these discourses, women are often defined in relation to their biology, as objects of maternity. Women who bear children - thereby performing accepted standards of gender intelligibility - are thus eligible for protection. It will be the argument of this paper that President Trump’s Executive Order draws implicitly on these homogenous depictions of women as nurturing and caring. This policy not only invokes Butler’s notion of gender intelligibility, it also contradicts a key element of the WPS agenda: women’s access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including pregnancies resulting from rape (UNSCR, 2122). Drawing upon the ongoing crisis in Syria, this paper unpacks the implications of this Executive Order for women and girls’ access to safe abortion following rape.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: NORA, borders, territorial discourse, feminism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2019 09:29
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/25548

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