Graduate Student Harper Cook conducting class research on Social Control Through Abortion Banning.

Harper conducted class research which revolved around examining social control through the banning of abortion legislation. This research provides a unique approach to this sociological issue and a preview of this paper is available in the abstract below.


“The recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade has sparked debate about the impact of abortion-banning laws on reproductive rights and women’s health. This paper argues that abortion-banning laws are mechanisms of social control that seek to limit women’s bodily autonomy and control their reproductive choices. Using social control theory, the paper explores how religious ideals, surveillance, social movements, and the threat of punishment are used to regulate women’s behavior and reinforce social norms. The paper highlights the consequences of the Dobbs v. Jackson WHO decision, which allows states to restrict access to abortion and potentially criminalize seeking reproductive healthcare. In future years this could have devastating consequences, particularly for marginalized groups who already face significant barriers to accessing healthcare. Restrictions on healthcare such as these could increase economic insecurity, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and unemployment, particularly among lower-income groups. Overall, this paper underscores the importance of protecting reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. This paper also shows the need to push back against the use of social control that seeks to limit individual freedoms and reinforce social norms. By doing so, we can ensure that all individuals have the right to make informed decisions about their own bodies and health.”