The Cairns abortion trial: Language, deviance, and the ‘spoiled identity’

Evans, Brodie & O'Brien, Erin (2015) The Cairns abortion trial: Language, deviance, and the ‘spoiled identity’. Journal of Sociology, 51(3), pp. 755-768.

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In 2009 a couple in Cairns were charged, and later found not guilty, of illegally obtaining a medical abortion through the use of medication imported from overseas. The court case reignited the discussions surrounding the illegality and social acceptance of abortion in Queensland, Australia. Based on a discourse analysis of 150 online news media articles covering the Cairns trial, this article critically examines the language and key words relied upon by media when covering the Cairns trial. It argues that, despite popular support for the decriminalisation of abortion, emotive language that aligns with a pro-life ideology is still being employed which has the power to shape perceptions of deviance and stigma surrounding abortion. This is useful to demonstrate how media discourse surrounding abortion needs to further align with a pro-choice ideology for women to be empowered for their choices.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 82006
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: abortion, deviance, discourse, gender, media
DOI: 10.1177/1440783314536794
ISSN: 1741-2978
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Sage Publications
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2015 23:32
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 23:22

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