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UBC Theses and Dissertations

When abortion delivers voice Arsenault, Danielle Marie


This hermeneutical study speaks and remembers - as in the Spanish recordar, to pass back through the heart - the qualitative experience of my abortion, and attempts to reveal the shifting nature of what it has come to mean. Rather than assert a certain moral, political, or legal stance, this work concerns itself with voicing what is ambiguous and discordant. It searches for what is often lost between the highly charged and oppositional poles of the pro-choice and pro-life debate. Through the heuristic and organic practice of narrative inquiry, this work explores writing as a way of coming to know, and delves into writing self, rather than writing about self. It enacts van Manen's notion of writing as self-making or forming (1998), and Cixous' notion of getting to know things by letting ourselves be known by them (1991). The work's fragmentary and poetic texts emerged from an intensive two-year period of reading, writing, and conversation immediately following my abortion, and from a series of collaborative working interviews with my partner, an abortion counsellor, and a friend. Though primarily autobiographical, the text embodies many layered voices, as well as poetry's ability to speak the ineffable. At its root, this lived-inquiry enters the complexity of my abortion, and follows the movement toward voice my writing delivered.

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