Religion in the discourse of abortion

Simon Statham, Helen Ringrow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The language around abortion is often viewed through a religious lens. Although there is no one unified definitive ‘religious position’, religious institutions tend to have certain stances on abortion. In jurisdictions where religion and religious institutions are strongly intertwined with those of political parties and national governments, religious positions on abortion drive and define the law, and broad social and cultural views, on abortion and reproductive healthcare. In Ireland, the interests of Church and State have been intimately and problematically interconnected. This chapter offers a Critical Discourse Analysis of religious language in the 1980s campaign to adopt the Eighth Amendment, the clause which gave the foetus constitutional status equal to that of women who were pregnant, and the less forceful focus on religion in the language of the campaign to retain the amendment in 2018. This language is then compared to that of the successful campaign for repeal of the Eighth Amendment. The case study focuses on a particular geographical and cultural context, but can be situated within a broader global struggle for bodily autonomy, which has been brought into sharper focus since the repeal of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in the United States.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of language and religion
EditorsStephen Pihlaja, Helen Ringrow
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003301271
ISBN (Print)9781032293530, 9781032293646
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Religion in the discourse of abortion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this