Morag Ramsey

PhD student at Department of History of Science and Ideas

Email:
morag.ramsey[AT-sign]idehist.uu.se
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P

Postal address:
Box 629
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Researcher in the history of science and ideas

I defended my PhD dissertation, The Swedish Abortion Pill: Co-producing Medical Abortion and Values, ca. 1965-1992, in March of 2021.

Keywords: foreign aid reproductive rights birth control population control reprodutive research feminism abortion abortion pill

Beginning in 1965, Swedish researchers clinically tested compounds on pregnant women, hoping to induce abortion. My dissertation follows abortion pill research in Sweden by concentrating on clinical trial practices in the period between 1965 and 1992. An intricate web of actors is highlighted, showing collaboration between state institutes, pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, media, researchers, and trial participants. Using perspectives from science and technology studies and by introducing the concept of abortion scripts, I traced how abortion was made in these expanding research networks. Whereas earlier scholarship has focused on contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and emergency contraceptives, my dissertation shows how abortion pills also contested reproductive concepts during the mid-20th century. Abortion pill research challenged reproductive boundaries, moved medical procedures from the hospital to the home, and expanded family planning initiatives.

As abortion access impacts people’s reproductive choices, it is important to understand how concepts of abortion are made. My dissertation maps a multitude of abortion scripts, detailing both change and continuity over time and makes visible the extent of the practical work that went into the development of medical abortion. While the technology is often attributed to research done by French researchers, this study reveals that decades of work in Sweden also contributed to the success of abortion pills.

Generally I am interested in themes and topics such as: reproductive technologies, colonial experiences, feminism, reproductive rights, birth control, infertility, environmental history, media history, and the creation of values.

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Morag Ramsey