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

 
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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.

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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.

Review:

“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)

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ISBN 10:  1442615699 ISBN 13:  9781442615694
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Sch..., 2016
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