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Religions 2015, 6(2), 451-475; doi:10.3390/rel6020451

The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause

Department of History, University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple St., Carrollton, GA 30118, USA
Academic Editor: Darren Dochuk
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [295 KB, uploaded 16 April 2015]

Abstract

This article employs a historical analysis of the religious composition of the pro-life movement to explain why the partisan identity of the movement shifted from the left to the right between the late 1960s and the 1980s. Many of the Catholics who formed the first anti-abortion organizations in the late 1960s were liberal Democrats who viewed their campaign to save the unborn as a rights-based movement that was fully in keeping with the principles of New Deal and Great Society liberalism, but when evangelical Protestants joined the movement in the late 1970s, they reframed the pro-life cause as a politically conservative campaign linked not to the ideology of human rights but to the politics of moral order and “family values.” This article explains why the Catholic effort to build a pro-life coalition of liberal Democrats failed after Roe v. Wade, why evangelicals became interested in the antiabortion movement, and why the evangelicals succeeded in their effort to rebrand the pro-life campaign as a conservative cause. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pro-life; abortion; Catholic; evangelical; conservatism Pro-life; abortion; Catholic; evangelical; conservatism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Williams, D.K. The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause. Religions 2015, 6, 451-475.

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