Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology


Mansell Blair


abortion, functional interpretation, conjugal family, birth control




This paper endeavours to give a functional interpretation to the practice of abortion.

A structural fit between the conjugal family and the current technological system was established. One of the dominant characteristics of the conjugal family is that of its decreasing size. A small family can only be accomplished through some method of family planning. But, the conventional birth control techniques are not reliable either because of. their inherent fallibility or/through misuse by the user. A back-up measure is needed to prevent births that cannot be planned with the conventional means of birth control. Abortion is the safety valve that allows the small, conjugal, nuclear family to be maintained for it is the functional consequence of the need for a post factum method of birth control. This leads to the hypothesis that there has been steadily increasing pressure for a more favourable attitude to abortion in America in this century.