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Research Interests

I am a historian who focuses on social movement activism, modern conservatism, medicine and public health, and the politics of gender, sexuality, and the body. I am particularly interested in abortion and family planning, both as elements of health care and as triggers for polarizing social movement formation.

My main research project focuses upon the United States and the political education of the anti-abortion movement, exploring what happened after the €˜social issue' of abortion was embraced by Reagan Republicans. I am interested in charting the ways in which access to power shaped and limited the national right-to-life movement, the relationship between activists, and their understanding of partisan politics and the branches of government. This work also seeks to situate the anti-abortion movement within other socially conservative networks, and I have a particular interest in exploring the way that opponents of abortion crafted a rhetorical discourse in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis that furthered their own social and political ends. My central question centers on conservative group formation and ideology, and I explore the way that the politics of the body serves to unify and mobilize, yet cannot overcome, deep internal divisions on the Right.

At the same time, I am working on a second project that focuses on termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks' gestation in Western nations such as Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. This is a qualitative study relying on interviews with abortion health care providers and clinicians, seeking to explore the impact of different legal frameworks and public health policies on the provision and accessibility of abortion. I am interested in the professional insights of providers and clinicians both as individuals and as actors in broader social, medical, and legal networks. I am also exploring the evolution of the polarizing discourse that currently exists around so-called 'late-term abortions.'

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