Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Reading for refusal in UK maternity care: entangling struggles for border and reproductive justice

Cassidy, Kathryn, Amiri, Rana and Davidson, Jill (2023) Reading for refusal in UK maternity care: entangling struggles for border and reproductive justice. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 201 (2). pp. 200-214. ISSN 1798-5617

Item Type: Article


esearch has shown that women with insecure immigration statuses in the United Kingdom (UK) are more likely to register later in their pregnancy with National Health Service (NHS) maternity care providers. This late engagement with healthcare services is framed in academic debates as one of the key reasons for poor outcomes for these women and their children during and after birth. Interventions, therefore, have focused on how to remove barriers to accessing maternity care for these women. In this paper, we argue that this approach fails to account for the agency of the women adequately, which needs to be understood in the context of state harms and violence towards women with insecure immigration statuses and, in particular, their reproductive lives.We seek to shift these debates by framing this lack of early engagement with state-provided maternity services as a form of refusal that denotes an active disengagement by bordered women from intersecting structures of harm and oppression that are embedded in the UK’s National Health Service, particularly through the charging regime. We argue that the politics of refusal in this case are embedded in struggles not only for border but also reproductive justice. Drawing on participant observation and data from secondary sources, we illustrate how refusal of early antenatal care opens pathways for bordered women to seek the care-ful conditions they need and want during pregnancy.

127866-Article Text-317722-1-10-20231217.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (262kB) | Preview

More Information

Related URLs:
Depositing User: Rana Amiri


Item ID: 17181
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1798-5617
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Kathryn Cassidy: ORCID iD
ORCID for Rana Amiri: ORCID iD
ORCID for Jill Davidson: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2023 10:36
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2023 10:45


Author: Kathryn Cassidy ORCID iD
Author: Rana Amiri ORCID iD
Author: Jill Davidson ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Social Sciences > Health and Social Care

Actions (login required)

View Item (Repository Staff Only) View Item (Repository Staff Only)