The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement: The Rise of

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

by Paul Saurette, Kelly Gordon

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442668768
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 04/06/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 456
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

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


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

What People are Saying About This

Lois Harder

“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.”

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