Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > "I do something different and extraordinary": U.S. Abortion Providers and Positive Identity Work
pdf

This study aims to answer two questions: how does the codification of restrictive state legislation affect the work that U.S abortion workers do; and what are the mechanisms of positive identity work used by abortion workers. Occupational identity is a major component of self-identity, and this is especially true of individuals who do ‘dirty’ or stigmatized work. The experience of stigma as a result of being an abortion worker, and the transformation of stigma into positive self-identity, has been documented in several qualitative studies. But what mechanisms of identity work facilitate this positive transformation of stigma? I find that abortion workers valorize their work and construct it as a necessary and normal part of health care. I interpret these mechanisms of identity work as restorative, and situate my findings in states with restrictive abortion laws.