Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

In writing this book I drew on the support, commitment, and dedication of many people. Ted Lowi’s enthusiasm and interest sustained me throughout. Another supporter was Elizabeth Sanders, who read the manuscript and offered several suggestions that improved it immeasurably. Martin Shefter’s work and Benjamin Ginsberg’s ideas about American...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Few issues in contemporary American politics have remained on the public agenda as long or split the country as divisively as abortion policy. Its inherent political, social, and moral dimensions make it an explosive issue that no institution, group, or religion has succeeded in containing. It was not always so. Until the nineteenth century it was...

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1. Reform and Opportunity

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pp. 13-27

When pro-abortion activists in New York and Pennsylvania began their campaigns to change the abortion laws, the obstacles they faced were similar: public opposition to reform, well-organized opponents, party indifference, and limited resources. Yet within five years the state legislatures in Albany and Harrisburg had passed radically different policies...

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2. Competing Discourses

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pp. 28-55

Why a topic becomes a political issue is a central question addressed by theorists of agenda-setting.1 Although these theorists focus on different aspects of the agenda making process, what unites them is the significance they assign to discourse as a tool used by competing forces to get their respective issues into the policy stream. Discourse is the...

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3. Gender Identity and Political Mobilization

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pp. 56-76

The political conflict over abortion policy stems partly from competing ideas about the meaning of womanhood. Because opposing interpretations of gender, sexuality, and reproduction are central to the debate over abortion policy, the pre-Roe conflict provides a particularly appropriate context...

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4. Party Politics in New York

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pp. 77-105

Among the first states to repeal its abortion law in the pre- period was New York, which in 1970 joined Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington in legalizing early elective abortions with few restrictions. Unlike Washington, which bypassed the legislative route and its inherent obstacles by holding a referendum on repeal, pro- and antiabortion...

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5. Interest-Group Politics in Pennsylvania

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pp. 106-126

In the midst of a nationwide effort to update abortion statutes, the one state that went against the tide was Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1967, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) built a well-organized, comprehensive campaign on the state and local levels that pre-empted its opponents and generated broad-based legislative support...

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6. Party, Discourse, and Policy

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pp. 127-142

The pre-Roe story was one of winners and losers. To be sure, groups on both sides of the debate in New York and Pennsylvania encountered party systems that were more or less suited to their needs. But it is no coincidence that the winners in this study, pro-abortion activists in New York and antiabortion forces in Pennsylvania, framed their demands...

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7. After Roe: The Pendulum Swings Back

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pp. 143-169

After Roe, abortion politics in America were transformed. The decision put abortion policy on the national agenda and expanded the influence of the women’s movement; later it did the same for the pro-life movement.1 Roe decriminalized early abortions: without it, most states would have retained their restrictive abortion laws and many women who wanted...

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Conclusion

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pp. 170-175

With the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, pro-abortion activists succeeded in securing women’s rights to early abortions with limited state interference. But Roe did not settle the issue. After 1973, abortion policy became a national issue, and the next twenty-five years saw a passionate struggle...

References

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pp. 177-187

Index of Cases

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p. 189

General Index

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pp. 191-195