The Over-Medicalization and Corrupted Medicalization of Abortion and its Effect on Women Living in Poverty

J Law Med Ethics. 2018 Sep;46(3):672-679. doi: 10.1177/1073110518804222.


Many current abortion regulations represent an over-medicalization of abortion or a corruption of abortion's true medical nature, with disproportionate consequences to women with lower incomes and lesser means. This article explores the effects of unnecessary and harmful abortion restrictions on women living in poverty. A brief summary of the major abortion rights cases explains how the Constitution, as currently interpreted, vests the government and sometimes the medical profession with the power to protect women's health, rather than granting this power to women themselves. The article then argues for a new approach for protecting women's health and respecting their dignity by reframing reproductive rights as health rights that women themselves can assert.

Publication types

  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Medicalization*
  • Politics
  • Poverty*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Rights
  • United States
  • Women's Health