Reproductive Health Policy in Britain - SOCI5950

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Ellie Lee checkmark-circle


Contraception, abortion, and teenage pregnancy are the subjects of public controversy in Britain. This module takes these aspects of 'reproductive health' as its main examples. We will consider why contraception, abortion and teenage pregnancy became the subject of policy-making, and look at how policy about them has changed over time. Attention will be drawn to areas of debate that are currently particularly controversial, to encourage students to consider the ways in which policy could develop.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Optional module for
BA Social Policy and joint honours Social Policy programmes
BA Health and Social care
Available as a wild module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - Essay (2500 words) - 50%
Examination - (2 hours) - 50%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

Luker K (2006) When Sex Goes to School, Warring Views on Sex - and Sex Education - since the 1960s, New York/London, W.W. Norton and Co.
McLaren A (1990) A History of Contraception, From Antiquity to the Present Day, Oxford, B Blackwell
Sheldon S (1997) Beyond Control: Medical Power & Abortion Law, London, Pluto
Lee E (2003) Abortion, Motherhood and Mental Health, The Medicalisation of Reproduction in the US and Britain, New York, De Gruyter
Arai L (2009) Teenage Pregnancy, the Making & Unmaking of a Problem, Bristol, Policy Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Possess an understanding of competing explanations about how health policies emerge and are made.
8.2 Identify the main policy developments in Britain about contraception, abortion, teenage sex and pregnancy, and assisted conception.
8.3 Discuss the origins of these policy developments, drawing on relevant social scientific literature and empirical evidence.
8.4 Identify areas of current concern and debate their validity for the future development of reproductive health policy
8.5 Possess experience of doing research using library and on-line resources

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Conduct research, by using library e-journal and other on-line resources.
9.2 Organise and communicate information and arguments in a clear and coherent manner, through essay writing, and seminar-based group
discussion of completed essays.
9.3 Apply social science theory and research evidence to understandings of social problems and policy responses.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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