By Drew Halfmann
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Extra resources for Doctors and Demonstrators: How Political Institutions Shape Abortion Law in the United States, Britain, and Canada
1 Institutional Effects on Abortion Politics and Policy Making in the United States, Britain, and Canada. c h a p t e r one As with interest groups, there is danger in assuming the positions of parties from their similar social positions or constituencies. This is especially the case for issues such as abortion that have many possible meanings and have moral or religious dimensions that do not match the economic cleavages on which many party systems, and especially those in the English-speaking countries, are based.
Partisanship theories typically do not examine the processes by which social movements persuade or pressure parties to take up their issues or form alliances, nor do they examine the institutional factors that facilitate or hinder that process. I modify partisanship theories to focus on the degree to which party and electoral systems aid or hinder attempts by new movements to gain power and influence within parties. 62 Movements have various resources for influencing parties. They can appeal to sympathetic party leaders or try to replace them.
7 The English statutes and the Bourne decision did not apply in Scotland where abortion was regulated by the common law and doctors were free to provide abortions when they considered them in the best interests of their patients. 10 In June 1967, Parliament enacted Scottish Liberal MP David Steel’s private member’s bill by a wide margin and mainly with Labour votes. The 37 c h apter two act allowed abortions up to the twentieth-eighth week of pregnancy, but required that signatures from two doctors be submitted to the ministry of health certifying that the abortion was necessary to preserve the life or the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, to preserve the health of existing children in the family, or to avoid the birth of a child with a serious physical disability.