The purists and the pragmatists: The right-to-life movement and the problem of the exceptional abortion in the United States, 1980s–2010s

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Abstract

On 19 September 1990, a frustrated Father Paul Marx, president of Human Life International (HLI), penned a letter to Dr. John “Jack” Willke, president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). The ostensible trigger was a highly restrictive bill that the NRLC had drafted in Idaho, legislation that leading pro-choice organizations believed would outlaw at least 90% of abortions in the state (Brotman, 1990). Although both houses of the Idaho legislature had passed the bill, Marx exclaimed, “I continue to be astonished at your naiveté” and offered a point-by-point critique of the legislation and Willke's approach to movement leadership (Marx, 1990b September). For months, these nationally prominent pro-lifers exchanged heated words over the Idaho bill because it allowed for a small number of ‘exceptional’ abortions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102326
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Volume78
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Right-to-life movement
  • Exceptional abortion
  • United States

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