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Feb 23rd, 2017
Health Policy in a Time of Crisis: Abortion, Austerity, and Access

Author Bayla Ostrach presents her new book and discusses what women and health care providers must do to ensure safe, legal abortion, in these times of political and legislative threats. Participants will discuss how public funding for abortion, and health care in general, can be protected as well as how social movements, including feminism, can gain and then defend grassroots victories.

Health Policy in a Time of Crisis is a vivid ethnographic account of women and providers navigating the Catalan health system to obtain and provide publicly funded abortion care.

Grounded in critical medical anthropology, the book situates access to publicly funded abortion care in the context of austerity and ongoing threats to recently liberalized laws, examining the actual levels of access in the region. In so doing, it examines the disparities experienced by immigrant and other women, documenting the diverse approaches adopted to overcome obstacles to care. Using accounts from both providers and women seeking care, Ostrach’s richly grounded analysis illuminates a healthcare system during a period of economic crisis and disagreement over reproductive governance. Researched against a backdrop of growing movements against austerity and for Catalan independence, the result is at once a study of true access to public health care in times of crisis and a compelling account of some women’s determination to go to any length to get the health care they need.

Engagingly written, it will make interesting reading for scholars and students of anthropology and public health, as well as policymakers and the general reader concerned with the politics of abortion and public health.