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Journal ArticleDOI

Abortion mobilities

13 Aug 2022-Geography Compass-Vol. 16, Iss: 9
About: This article is published in Geography Compass.The article was published on 2022-08-13. It has received None citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Mobilities.
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Journal Article
TL;DR: Among the Flowers and Skating to Antarctica as mentioned in this paper describe a three-week trek through Nepal with three "plantsmen," a friend from the United States and two from Wales, who are collecting seeds to cultivate for sale in their respective nurseries.
Abstract: In Among the Flowers, Jamaica Kincaid describes her three-week trek through Nepal. She travels with three "'plantsmen,'" a friend from the United States and two from Wales, who are collecting seeds to cultivate for sale in their respective nurseries. Kincaid is propelled by her own commercial interests (she has been commissioned by National Geographic to write in that most dubious of colonial genres, the travel memoir) and by her great love of her Vermont garden. "[T]he strangeness of my situation was not lost to me. Vermont, all by itself should be Eden and gardenworthy enough. But apparently, I do not find it so. I seem to believe that I will find my idyll more a true ideal, only if I can populate it with plants from another side of the world" (2005, 189). It is her love of her garden that compels her to venture out, and she persistently remarks on her lack of interest in seed collecting and botanizing at elevations below those that resemble the conditions of her home. She writes of her compulsion to buy things in tiny hamlets where no commodities are sold, a desire so strong that she purchased clothing off the bodies of local peasants: "This craven behavior on our part can be explained: we were becoming afraid that there was less and less evidence to show, to ourselves only, that we had done what we thought we had done, that we had been to the places we had been" (167). Kincaid periodically gives relatively large sums of money to particular guides, with clearly articulated hopes of how this should be spent. She does not even try to learn the names of all her guides, whom she nicknames I Love You, Cook, and Table. She carries a satellite phone so that she can stay in constant communication with her thirteen-year-old son in Vermont. She ridicules other trekkers, noting that "we decided to call them the Germans, because we didn't like the look of them . . . and Germans seem to be the one group of people left that can not be liked just because you feel like it" (28). There are no self-imposed limits to Kincaid's seed collecting, aside from lack of interest and an inability to cultivate the seed at home. Jenny Diski's Skating to Antarctica offers another example of travel writing as memoir. Diski relates the story of her two-week cruise to Antarctica, a trip she undertook under a compulsion to journey to the most remote place imaginable. "The Arctic," she reasoned, "would have been easier, but I had no desire to head north. I wanted white and ice for as far as the eye could see, and I wanted it in the one place in the world that was uninhabited.... That was Antarctica, and only Antarctica" (2001, 5). Antarctica, particularly for a British citizen such as Diski, has long represented the ultimate proving ground physically and spiritually, a place where male explorers venture to die glorious deaths in the service of the empire. The absence of human inhabitants and the extreme harshness of the terrain render Antarctica unique in its potential for colonization without guilt, unique in the opportunity it seems to afford the explorer to make not conquests but untainted discoveries. For Diski, the blankness of this "last pure place on earth" (7) is what gives Antarctica its allure. Yet her account is not primarily a travelogue; the landscape finds meaning for her as she juxtaposes her voyage southward with the story of her complicated and sorrowful family history. In the end, both inward and outward journeys converge in her desire for a "joy totally disconnected from the world . . . unavailable and in that place without the pain" (237). We take Among the Flowers and Skating to Antarctica as points of departure, in part because of the way in which their writers negotiate with the generic conventions and ideological pitfalls of travel writing. Kincaid articulates how the foreign becomes meaningful through personal relations in an exceedingly messy and ambivalent way. Fully aware of the intimate workings of colonialism, she nonetheless frames the world as a spectacle for collecting and consumption and repeats familiar gestures of cultural superiority and paternalism. …

82 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that moral conservatism in Ireland, north and south, has contributed to the restricted access to abortion, impacting on the experience of thousands of women, resulting in these individuals becoming ‘abortion tourists’.
Abstract: Access to abortion remains a controversial issue worldwide. In Ireland, both north and south, legal restrictions have resulted in thousands of women travelling to England and Wales and further afield to obtain abortions in the last decade alone, while others purchase the 'abortion pill' from Internet sources. This paper considers the socio-legal context in both jurisdictions, the data on those travelling to access abortion and the barriers to legal reform. It argues that moral conservatism in Ireland, north and south, has contributed to the restricted access to abortion, impacting on the experience of thousands of women, resulting in these individuals becoming 'abortion tourists'.

61 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this first-time study, the travel women undertake to access abortion services at freestanding clinics across Canada was systematically tracked, mapped, and analyzed using questionnaire-based data.
Abstract: Synopsis Access to abortion services is uneven throughout Canada. As a result, women cross provincial and territorial borders to garner access to abortion services. In this first-time study, the travel women undertake to access abortion services at freestanding clinics across the country was systematically tracked, mapped, and analyzed using questionnaire-based data. A total of 1186 women from 17 freestanding abortion clinics provided information about their journeys. The mapped data reflect the acknowledged importance of the “spatial turn” in the health sciences and provide a graphic illustration of spatial disparities in abortion access in Canada, namely: 1) the paucity of services outside urban centers; 2) the existence of substantial access gaps, particularly for women living in Atlantic, Northern and coastal communities; 3) the burdensome costs of travel and, in some cases, the costs of the abortion procedure itself, especially for younger women who travel the farthest; 4) the unique challenges First Nations and Metis women face in accessing abortion services.

57 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 2011-Signs
TL;DR: Nearly twenty years after the X case discussed here, the pregnant female body moving over international borders—entering and leaving the state—is still interpreted as problematic and threatening to the Irish state.
Abstract: Medical tourism in Ireland, like in many Western states, is built around assumptions about individual agency, choice, possibility, and mobility. One specific form of medical tourism—the flow of women from Ireland traveling in order to secure an abortion—disrupts and contradicts these assumptions. One legacy of the bitter, contentious political and legal battles surrounding abortion in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s has been securing the right of mobility for all pregnant Irish citizens to cross international borders to secure an abortion. However, these mobility rights are contingent upon nationality, social class, and race, and they have enabled successive Irish governments to avoid any responsibility for providing safe, legal, and affordable abortion services in Ireland. Nearly twenty years after the X case discussed here, the pregnant female body moving over international borders—entering and leaving the state—is still interpreted as problematic and threatening to the Irish state.

51 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Suggestions to improve rural women's access to abortion services included more affordable services that were 'closer to home' as a way to reduce travel and cost, and to normalise abortion as a women's health rights issue.
Abstract: Introduction: Little is known about Australian rural women's overall experiences of accessing an abortion service and the barriers they encounter. Approximately one in three Australian women access an abortion at some time in their lives. Most abortions are undertaken during the first trimester of pregnancy in private clinics. Although both medical and surgical abortions are uncomplicated medical procedures, abortion remains a contentious area of women's health. Whilst it is clear that rural women experience disparities in relation to access to health care, there is a gap in the evidence on rural women's experiences of accessing an abortion. The aim of the present study was to identify factors that women in rural New South Wales (NSW) experience in accessing abortion services and suggestions about how rural women could be better supported when seeking access to an abortion service. Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were undertaken with rural women living in NSW who had had an abortion in the previous 1 5 years. Participants self-selected for a phone or face-to-face interview, in response to promotion of the study through women's services, community flyers and press releases. Results: Rural women in this study experienced many barriers to accessing an abortion. Women travelled 1-9 hours one way to access an abortion in clinics. Several women borrowed money for the abortion fee. Five themes were identified: finding information about the provider; stigma, shame and secrecy; logistics involved in accessing the clinic related to travel, money and support; medical and surgical abortion; and ways rural women could be better supported in this process. Suggestions to improve rural women's access to abortion services included more affordable services that were 'closer to home' as a way to reduce travel and cost, and to normalise abortion as a women's health rights issue. Conclusions: Despite welcome legal and pharmaceutical reform in Australia, results from this small study indicate that there is a long way to go remove barriers on issues rural women experience in their process of accessing reproductive care, including the pervasiveness of abortion stigma. Services closer to home may help reduce inequities in access to health care experienced by rural women. Strategies such as broader use of tele-health and willingness of general practitioners to become authorised prescribers for medical abortions could help to reduce long distances to travel to services and the financial burden experienced by rural women.

44 citations