Introduction: The Politics of Abortion 50 Years after Roe

J Health Polit Policy Law. 2023 Jan 23;10451382. doi: 10.1215/03616878-10451382. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Abortion is central to the Amerian political landscape and a common pregnancy outcome, yet research on abortion has been siloed and marginalized in the social sciences: in an empirical analysis, we find only 22 articles published in this century in the top economics, political science, and sociology journals. This special issue aims to bring abortion research into a more generalist space, challenging what we term the "abortion research paradox" wherein abortion research is largely absent from prominent disciplinary social science journals but flourishes in interdisciplinary and specialized journals. After discussing the misconceptions that likely contribute to abortion research siloization and the implications of this siloization on abortion research as well as social science knowledge more generally, this essay introduces the articles in this special issue. Then, in a call for continued and expanded research on abortion, this essay closes by offering three guiding practices for abortion scholars-both those new to the topic and those already deeply familiar-in the hopes of building an ever-richer body of literature on abortion politics, policy, and law. The need for such a robust literature is especially acute following the United States Supreme Court's June 2022 overturning of the constitutional right to abortion.

Keywords: Roe v. Wade; Abortion; marginalization; siloization; social sciences.