The Pro-Choice Movement: Organization and Activism in the by Suzanne Staggenborg

By Suzanne Staggenborg

Within the Nineteen Sixties a stream led by means of kinfolk making plans activists and feminists emerged to problem kingdom anti-abortion legislation, leading to the landmark 1973 ideal court docket ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion during the U.S. utilizing interviews with earlier and current activists and historic files of flow agencies, this publication lines the improvement of the "pro-choice" circulate from its origins during the Nineteen Eighties. the writer exhibits how a small team of activists was once in a position to construct at the momentum created through different social activities of the Sixties to legalize abortion. Staggenborg argues that pro management and formalized organizational constructions, including threats from the anti-abortion flow, enabled the pro-choice circulate to stay mobilized following legalization of abortion in 1973 and that those advancements additionally facilitated grass-roots participation within the stream. This publication can have specific value for political sociologists, researchers, scholars, and others drawn to women's stories and the abortion factor.

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Lists of organizations and prominent citizens likely to contribute to ICMCA were compiled through referrals from members, and letters requesting donations were sent that began, "I am writing at the suggestion of " Follow-up letters were always sent to past contributors, and any requests for information were carefully answered. After speaking engagements, a skillfully crafted follow-up letter was routinely sent to all organizations, asking for support from its members with the plaintive phrase, "We honestly expected more response"—regardless of how much money ICMCA had received in contributions through the organization!

Activists in both the women's liberation movement and the abortion repeal movement became deeply involved in abortion referral work. Some provided referrals for abortions as a result of their own experiences with illegal abortion, and some as a result of their experiences as family-planning practitioners. Persons who were visible as early advocates of change in the abortion laws often found themselves drawn into referral work when women contacted them for help. As early as 1961, Patricia Maginnis, a medical technologist who had herself undergone an illegal abortion, founded the California-based Society for Humane Abortion.

Crossing the line from writer to activist, Lader believed he had found an ideal strategy for publicizing the problem of abortion and creating public support. Using as a platform his opportunities for speaking engagements and lectures, Lader continued to operate and publicize a referral service for women, a strategy intended "to stir as much controversy and debate as possible while bringing the facts to the public" (Lader, 1973:xi). By the late 1960s, abortion referral had become an important activity in the emerging women's movement as feminist abortion referral services cropped up across the country.

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