Examining Agency and the Politics of Reproductive Choice.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Research on Families and Relationships


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Jessica Gunson (Author) (2012) Menstrual suppression: The rhetoric and realities of choice in Outskirts: Feminisms along the Edge

Description The Pill and other hormonal contraception are widely used for reasons other than to control fertility. Menstrual suppression was a desired primary effect of hormonal contraception for women in this study.

Women who did not intend to have children and continuously used hormonal contraception to suppress their menstruation felt marginalised by the dominant notion implicit in 'family planning' that contraception was merely putting motherhood 'on hold'.

The notion of individual 'choice' dominated women's accounts of menstrual suppression but did not reflect the reality of their decision making.

Women expressed both trust and scepticism about information provided by medical professionals. They also expressed profound ambivalence towards the notion of 'risk' associated with suppressing menstruation.

The presence of direct-to-consumer advertising seems to have a significant effect on the ways in which understandings of menstruation and fertility are understood by the public.
Exploitation Route Direct-to-consumer advertising has significant implications for understandings of menstruation, menstrual suppression and contraceptive practices.

There is a need to continue to challenge and rethink understandings of sexual health outside the 'family planning' framework. Whilst there has been much broadening and innovation in the realm of sexual health services in the UK, Australia and the USA, further attention is needed to examine the ways in which women use contraception outside the dominant model of heterosexual family planning

The findings from this study suggest that further research is needed into the specific effects of Internet access to USA based DTC advertising for contraceptive methods on UK and Australian practices and subsequent policy implications.
Sectors Education,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Academic journal articles Knowledge exchange briefing for policy/practice audiences Evidence to support applications for future funding
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Education,Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

Description Flinders University Establishment Grant
Amount $9,995 (AUD)
Organisation Flinders University 
Sector Academic/University
Country Australia
Start 08/2014 
End 09/2015