The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement: The Rise of "Pro-Woman" Rhetoric in Canada and the United States

By Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon

© 2016

When journalists, academics, and politicians describe the North American anti-abortion movement, they often describe a campaign that is male-dominated, aggressive, and even violent in its tactics, religious in motivation, anti-women in tone, and fetal-centric in arguments and rhetoric. Are they correct?

In The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement, Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon suggest that the reality is far more complicated, particularly in Canada.  Today, anti-abortion activism increasingly presents itself as “pro-women”: using female spokespersons, adopting medical and scientific language to claim that abortion harms women, and employing a wide range of more subtle framing and narrative rhetorical tactics that use traditionally progressive themes to present the anti-abortion position as more feminist than pro-choice feminism.

Following a succinct but comprehensive overview of the two-hundred year history of North American debate and legislation on abortion, Saurette and Gordon present the results of their systematic, five-year quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis, supplemented by extensive first-person observations, and outline the implications that flow from these findings. Their discoveries are a challenge to our current assumptions about the abortion debate today, and their conclusions will be compelling for both scholars and activists alike.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 456 pages
  • Illustrations: 9
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

In The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement, Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon suggest that anti-abortion activism increasingly presents itself as “pro-women," employing rhetorical tactics to present the anti-abortion position as more feminist than pro-choice feminism.

The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement: The Rise of "Pro-Woman" Rhetoric in Canada and the United States

By Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon

© 2016

When journalists, academics, and politicians describe the North American anti-abortion movement, they often describe a campaign that is male-dominated, aggressive, and even violent in its tactics, religious in motivation, anti-women in tone, and fetal-centric in arguments and rhetoric. Are they correct?

In The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement, Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon suggest that the reality is far more complicated, particularly in Canada.  Today, anti-abortion activism increasingly presents itself as “pro-women”: using female spokespersons, adopting medical and scientific language to claim that abortion harms women, and employing a wide range of more subtle framing and narrative rhetorical tactics that use traditionally progressive themes to present the anti-abortion position as more feminist than pro-choice feminism.

Following a succinct but comprehensive overview of the two-hundred year history of North American debate and legislation on abortion, Saurette and Gordon present the results of their systematic, five-year quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis, supplemented by extensive first-person observations, and outline the implications that flow from these findings. Their discoveries are a challenge to our current assumptions about the abortion debate today, and their conclusions will be compelling for both scholars and activists alike.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 456 pages
  • Illustrations: 9
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “Saurette and Gordon’s book is a major contribution to our understanding of abortion politics in Canada and a compelling example of how to analyse political strategy through discourse. It will be a ‘go-to’ text for gender and politics courses.”


    Lois Harder, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
  • Author Information

    Paul Saurette is a professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.



    Kelly Gordon is a PhD candidate in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.
  • Table of contents

    Preface

    Ch. 1 – Introduction

    Part I: Historicizing the Abortion Debate in North America

    Ch. 2 – The History of the Abortion Debate in the United States

    Ch. 3 The Abortion Debate in the United States Post Roe v. Wade

    Ch. 4 – The History of The Abortion Debate in Canada

    Ch. 5 – The Abortion Debate in Canada: Morgentaler and Beyond

    Ch. 6 – Intermezzo: The History of the Abortion Debate in North America

    Part II: The Changing Voice of Canada’s Contemporary Anti-Abortion Movement

    Ch. 7 – Shifting Strategies: A Little Old, A Lot of New, A Bit of Both

    Ch. 8 – Women Up Front, God Out Back: The Changing Anti-Abortion Arguments

    Ch. 9 – We’re All Progressives Now: Rebranding the Movement

    Ch. 10 – Anti-Abortionism as the New Feminism: Reframing the Position

    Ch. 11 – From Jezebel to Snow White: Moralizing Through Narrativizing

    Part III: Comparisons, Conclusions, Implications

    Ch. 12. Pro-Woman’ Discourse in the United States

    Ch. 13 – Theoretical Implications

    Ch. 14 – Where to Now? Practical Implications For Abortion Rights Advocates

    Appendix A: Glossary of Key Legal and Political Events, Organizations and Individuals

    Appendix B: Historical Timeline – Abortion Politics in UK, Canada and US

    Appendix C: Historical Timeline – Abortion Discourse in Canada and US

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