Opposition and Intimidation
The Abortion Wars and Strategies of Political Harassment
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Michigan Press
One of the distinguishing features of the abortion conflict compared to other social debates of our times is the level of protest, harassment, and violence generated over this issue. Journalists, physicians, and activists on both sides of the debate have talked about the spectacle occurring outside of clinics across the nation. ...
1. POLITICAL PROTEST OR POLITICAL HARASSMENT? Social Movements, Morality Politics, and Abortion
Chris Danze, a construction industry executive and staunch pro-life supporter, was shocked to hear the news in 2003 that Planned Parenthood was going to open up a new clinic equipped to perform abortion services in Austin, Texas, so he decided to do something about it.1 Danze began making phone calls to dissuade companies from working on the construction of the facility. Within a few short weeks, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, drywall installers, heating subcontractors, and cement layers all backed out of the project, delaying the construction of the facility. ...
2. SHIFTING CONTEXTS: The History of Abortion in America
The decision whether to have children is one of the most life-altering decisions faced by women. Child-rearing responsibilities disproportionately fall on women, so it is not surprising that the desire to regulate fertility has long been a concern for women. Abortion has historically been used by women as a form of birth control and as a means to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. ...
3. THE RISE OF THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT POST ROE v. WADE
Pro-life support existed within society long before the 1960s move to liberalize abortion laws, but there was no reason to organize formally because the law and public sentiment appeared to reflect anti-abortion beliefs. In reality, although abortion was illegal, the absence of public discourse surrounding abortion was a product of society’s general discomfort and shame about openly talking about sexuality rather than majoritarian support of pro-life beliefs (Luker 1984). ...
4. CREATING A NEW GAME: The Scope of Anti-Abortion Violence and Harassing Tactics
In the past four decades, anti-abortion activities have run the gamut from legal protest to quasi-legal protest to illegal protesting and violence. The trends in activity have waxed and waned throughout the years, often responding to changing strategies and political opportunities. One marked trend is the decrease in extreme incidents of violence such as arson, bombing, and murder following the passage of the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act (18 U.S.C. 248) and a corollary increase in protest activities around the same time period. ...
5. DOES HARASSMENT PAY OFF? Assessing the Success of Anti-Abortion Tactics
Pro-life activists frequently express the collective goal of banning abortion or prohibiting access to abortion services (Paige 1983; Luker 1984). Unconventional tactics are among the tools used by the direct action branch of the movement to achieve this goal. Activists aim these tactics at nongovernmental actors because from their perspective, the urgency of “saving lives” necessitates immediate action. Abortion opponents from this arm of the movement are not willing to wait patiently for political compromise and negotiation. ...
6. THE CHANGING FACE OF THE ABORTION DEBATE
The pro-life movement shares similar institutional structures and social-psychological dynamics that are present in other social movements. The anti-abortion movement’s origin and development have, in many ways, mirrored other social movements. Yet, unlike many movements, the pro-life movement has heavily relied on harassing, confrontational tactics despite the overall institutional progression of the movement and its resultant success operating through legitimate political channels. ...
Appendix A: Survey Questions
Appendix B: Data Sources
Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 12 Figures & 9 Tables
Publication Year: 2007
OCLC Number: 655174100
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Opposition and Intimidation