Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Andreas Broscheid, Ph.D

Melinda Adams, Ph.D

Elaine M. Chisek, J.D., LL.M.

Abstract

My research examines the impact of the Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade (1973), on the American abortion rights movement during the 1970s. Previous research is divided on the extent of the Court’s influence on social movements and I seek to fill a gap in the previous literature. I conduct an in-depth document analysis to measure the Court’s effect on the abortion rights movement. Specifically, I examine abortion sections from the 1970s feminist publications, “Our Bodies Ourselves” and “off our backs,” to represent the American abortion rights movement. Both publications offer slightly different feminist perspectives with abortion rights advocacy and serve as representations for the movement in this study. To measure the Court’s impact, I analyze the themes that emerge in the feminist publications before the Roe decision and observe whether the Roe majority affected the feminist publications in the years after the Roe decision. Based on my resign study, I find the Court impacted the arguments and rhetoric of the abortion rights movement. I observe an increase in the discussion of the Court’s role and influence on women’s abortion rights and observe the rhetoric use of the Court’s trimester framework in the feminist publications. After the Roe decision, I also observe political changes mentioned in the publications, such as the emergence of a strong anti-abortion movement, that I speculate could have been caused by the Roe verdict.

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