I skammens venteværelse: En strukturalistisk analyse af indvirkende faktorer i den abortsøgende kvindes subliminale og supraliminale rationale og mulighedsfelt

Iben Helena Dalgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


Women’s right to free abortion has gradually been integrated as a natural part of the Danish modern society, since it’s legalization in 1973. Despite of the wide public support, the population still finds abortion to be a subject of ethical and moral qualms. This thesis investigates how women’s rationales form the construction of their decision-making on having an abortion in a bodily, objective and institutionalized matter. In this regard women’s life situation and ethical convictions are seen as influential, as to how the basis ground of their choices and actions are shaped. Through the investigation it is explored which level of freedom that surrounds women’s perceived opportunities. The purpose of this is to clarify what defines and characterizes women’s decision on abortion, and to get a glimpse of what is at stake for a woman who needs to make a choice between an abortion and a pregnancy.
Taking a structural approach, the thesis carries out 10 semi structured interviews, from which four dominant structures and repetitive tendencies are identified. These four empirical categories constitute the outline of the analysis. The analytical framework draws primary upon Pierre Bourdieu’s agency theory, and secondary on Abraham Maslow’s needs theory. Using Bourdieu’s agency theory, it is argued, that both apparent and hidden social and psychological structures forms and influence not only women’s decision on abortion, but also their self-image. The qualitative data reveals, how the woman’s overall status - economically, socially and working wise - seems to objectively decide, when a pregnancy are responsible and when it isn’t. It is demonstrated how getting the welfare benefit ‘Støttesamtale’, which is a woman’s right to support, becomes a matter of personal resources, and how waiting rooms in the public welfare system is a source of vulnerability for the woman waiting for an abortion. The thesis show that for a modern woman, an abortion on demand feels very distinctive from what is generally associated with the concept of ‘Free Abortion’ as a social object and power symbol. Though society speaks of free rights with pride, many women still hide their personal story of abortion in fear of disdain and isolation, which stresses a distinction between ‘Free Abortion’ and ‘Termination’.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages88
SupervisorsAnne Roelsgaard Obling