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Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic StateA Comparative Study of State Feminism$
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Dorothy McBride Stetson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242665

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199242666.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2021

US Abortion Debates 1959–1998: The Women's Movement Holds on

US Abortion Debates 1959–1998: The Women's Movement Holds on

(p.247) 12 US Abortion Debates 1959–1998: The Women's Movement Holds on
Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic State

Dorothy McBride Stetson

Oxford University Press

The first major abortion debates in the United States—in Roe vs. Wade legalizing abortion in the first 24 weeks and the Hyde Amendment denying funding—established the terms of conflict over the issue: right to life of the foetus versus women's right to seek and choose abortion services. These debates also constructed two great social movements which have confronted each other ever since. Although women's movement and pro‐choice forces form an alliance that has successfully maintained access to legal abortion, the pro‐life movement has robbed them of energy and time to achieve full reproductive rights for women. In the latest skirmish over the ‘partial birth’ abortion ban, women's movement actors would have failed without the assistance of a Democratic president and his women's policy agency. Even so, their frame of activism has been narrowed to women's health.

Keywords:   abortion law, Democratic party, foetal rights, Hyde Amendment, pro‐choice movement, pro‐life movement, Roe versus Wade, USA, women's movement, women's policy agency

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