Women’s health has not been the subject of debate for many years, in fact, it was not until 1986 that the NIH advisory “strongly recommended” that women be included in clinical trials. In Ireland, there are many factors that account for the health of women. These are determinants, they are factors that could include political, social, and cultural aspects that influence women’s (and other group’s) health. Social determinants that have been found to have a considerable impact on health include political and social influences (Marmot, 2005). In this post, I will examine what social and political determinants affect women seeking abortion in Ireland using the feminist theoretical perspective. Donald Joralemon defines a theory as idea that “seeks to account for a defined set of regularities or patterns evident in a given phenomena” (Joralemon, 1997). Feminist theory is perfect to indentify the issues around abortion in Ireland because it focuses on why women may be facing these issues as opposed to men.
Many studies have linked social determinants such as social exclusion with premature death and as having a huge impact on overall health (Wilkinson and Marmot, 2003). This being said, it is important to look at these aspects when considering women’s health as they seek an abortion. Social exclusion is one of the major impacts on women and a huge social determinant for women’s health. Until 2017, abortion was illegal in Ireland, forcing women to flee the country in order to obtain an abortion (Abortion, 2018). This makes women feel excluded and isolated in their own countries. Women are known to internalize their issues, this causes psychological problems that men and other groups of women that are not seeking abortions do not have to deal with (Currie, 2010).
This leads me into my next topic of political determinants that impact women’s health. Until recently, women in Ireland were forced to carry babies to term unless they wanted to travel to another country, which is expensive, time consuming, and can lead to questions about what they are doing there. This provides a large pressure and unnecessary stress which again provides an unnecessary stress on women seeking abortions that other groups do not undergo.
It is important to note why these instances occur and what we can do to solve them. Feminsit theological approach says that women have been excluded from everything from products to clinical trials (Dominguez, 2009). Furthermore, this shows that women and their health have been excluded from the main point of view of health professions for a long time but as soon as they are considered, as is the case for abortion, they are banned from doing anything about their health. It is also important to look into what we could do about this, many individuals believe that doctors are in the unique position to identify and work to fix these issues, that they have the trust of women to be able to show them better options and work with lawmakers to make changes to benefit this group (Mackenbach, 2015).
In conclusion, women seeking abortions in Ireland have social and political determinants that affect their health, which feminist theory explains as being due to the fact that they are women. The social exclusion women go through in order to obtain an abortion or even consider an abortion can lead to adverse health effects and possibly premature death. The political determinants prevent them from being in control of their own health. Feminist theory explains this by pointing out that women were excluded from clinical trials for many years, making them not a part of their own health and leading many lawmakers to not include them when deciding whether they should e able to obtain abortions or not. Many people have hope though that people who are in doctors and health professionals positions can identify, and push for change for these individuals. With the removal of the eighth amendment, now allowing abortions in Ireland, it looks as though it may be that way
“Abortion Statistics, England and Wales.” GOV.UK, GOV.UK, 7 June 2018, www.gov.uk/government/collections/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales.
Currie, Candace, et al. “Social Determinants of Health and Well-Being among Young People .” MSU Anthropology , World Health Organization, 2010, www.hbsc.unito.it/it/images/pdf/hbsc/prelims-part1.pdf.
Dominguez, Johnna, et al. “The University of Alabama.” Department of Anthropology, 2009, anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Feminist%2BAnthropology.
Joralemon, Donald. “Recognizing Biological, Social, and Cultural Interconnections.” MSU Anthropology , 1997, anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/1.1-Joralemon.pdf.
Mackenbach, Johan P. “Political Determinants of Health.” Department of Public Health, 2014, anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/Political-Determs-of-Hlth-Mackenbach-2014.pdf.
Marmot, Michael. “Social Determinants of Health Inequalities .” MSU Anthropology , International Center for Health and Society, 2005, anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/Social-determinants-of-health-inqualities-Marmot-2005.pdf.
Wilkinson, Richard, and Michael Marmot. “Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts.” Anthropology MSU, World Health Organization, 2003, anthropology.msu.edu/anp270-us18/files/2015/05/Soc-Determs-of-Hlth-the-solid-facts-WHO-2003.pdf.