Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War

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University of California Press, 2003 - History - 327 pages
In his gripping, behind-the-scenes account, journalist William Saletan reveals exactly how, thirty years after Roe v. Wade, "pro-choice" conservatives have won the abortion war. Having successfully turned abortion into a privacy issue, conservatives now prevail on issues ranging from abortion's legality and parental notification to Medicaid, rape, and cloning; consequently, reproductive autonomy is now becoming inaccessible to the young and the poor. This eye-opening expos tells how abortion rights activists--people who desired social change, women's equality, and broader access to health care--have had their message co-opted in a culture of privacy and limited government. Bearing Right is also a story about the essentially conservative character of the United States today.
Saletan tells how, beginning in Arkansas in 1986 during the administration of Governor Bill Clinton, the National Abortion Rights Action League repackaged the abortion issue to give it broader appeal to conservatives. Pro-choice conservatives adopted this new rhetoric and made the abortion issue their own. Saletan takes us through the key events in the ensuing story--the fight over the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, the election of Governor Doug Wilder in Virginia, the convergence of the Bush and Clinton positions on abortion in 1992, and much more--right up to the present day.
This book is a crucial lesson in how politicians and interest groups can change the way we vote, not by telling us facts or lies, but by reshaping the way we think--in part through mass marketing. Today, the abortion rights movement must ask itself what it has won and what it is fighting for. This book is sure to play a role in answering that question. In his gripping, behind-the-scenes account, journalist William Saletan reveals exactly how, thirty years after Roe v. Wade, "pro-choice" conservatives have won the abortion war. Having successfully turned abortion into a privacy issue, conservatives now prevail on issues ranging from abortion's legality and parental notification to Medicaid, rape, and cloning; consequently, reproductive autonomy is now becoming inaccessible to the young and the poor. This eye-opening expos tells how abortion rights activists--people who desired social change, women's equality, and broader access to health care--have had their message co-opted in a culture of privacy and limited government. Bearing Right is also a story about the essentially conservative character of the United States today.
Saletan tells how, beginning in Arkansas in 1986 during the administration of Governor Bill Clinton, the National Abortion Rights Action League repackaged the abortion issue to give it broader appeal to conservatives. Pro-choice conservatives adopted this new rhetoric and made the abortion issue their own. Saletan takes us through the key events in the ensuing story--the fight over the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, the election of Governor Doug Wilder in Virginia, the convergence of the Bush and Clinton positions on abortion in 1992, and much more--right up to the present day.
This book is a crucial lesson in how politicians and interest groups can change the way we vote, not by telling us facts or lies, but by reshaping the way we think--in part through mass marketing. Today, the abortion rights movement must ask itself what it has won and what it is fighting for. This book is sure to play a role in answering that question.
 

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Bearing right: how conservatives won the abortion war

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Saletan, a political reporter for Slate and other magazines, documents the organizations, interests, people, and campaigns that shaped the reproductive rights debate from the 1980s to the present. He ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bmetzler - LibraryThing

This book molded my pro-life views more then any other book on the subject that I have read. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
A Place Called Hope
9
Privacy and Prejudice
31
Who Decided
57
The New Mainstream
84
Triage
108
Middle Ground
136
Victims and Villains
158
The Right to Choose Life
188
The Era of Big Government
218
Fatal Position
247
Notes
279
Bibliography
311
Index
313
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

William Saletan is Chief Political Correspondent for the online magazine Slate. He has written for the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, and the Washingtonian.

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