By Daniel K. Williams
On April sixteen, 1972, 10000 humans collected in imperative Park to protest New York's liberal abortion legislations. feelings ran excessive, reflecting the nation's severe polarization over abortion. but the divisions didn't fall smartly alongside partisan or non secular lines-the assembled protesters have been faraway from a number of fire-breathing tradition warriors. In Defenders of the Unborn, Daniel ok. Williams unearths the hidden heritage of the pro-life stream in the United States, exhibiting reason that many see as reactionary and anti-feminist begun as a liberal campaign for human rights.
For many years, the media portrayed the pro-life circulation as a Catholic reason, yet by the point of the imperative Park rally, that stereotype was once already hopelessly superseded. the types of individuals in attendance at pro-life rallies ranged from white Protestant physicians, to younger moms, to African American Democratic legislators-even the occasional member of deliberate Parenthood. one among manhattan City's such a lot vocal pro-life advocates was once a liberal Lutheran minister who used to be most sensible identified for his civil rights activism and his protests opposed to the Vietnam conflict. The language with which pro-lifers championed their reason used to be no longer that of conservative Catholic theology, infused with assaults on birth control and women's sexual freedom. particularly, they observed themselves as civil rights crusaders, protecting the inalienable correct to lifetime of a defenseless minority: the unborn fetus. It was once due to this grounding in human rights, Williams argues, that the right-to-life stream received such momentum within the early Nineteen Sixties. certainly, pro-lifers have been successful the conflict ahead of Roe v. Wade replaced the process history.
Through a deep research of formerly untapped files, Williams provides the untold tale of recent Deal-era liberals who solid alliances with a various array of activists, Republican and Democrat alike, to struggle for what they observed as a human rights reason. Provocative and insightful, Defenders of the Unborn is a must-read for a person who craves a deeper realizing of a highly-charged factor.
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Extra resources for Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade
Taussig’s book was more widely distributed than Rongy’s, and it set the terms of the abortion debate partly because, as a 500-page, exhaustively detailed study of the medical and legal aspects of abortion, it was by far the most comprehensive analysis of abortion published up to that point. Taussig was, like Rongy, both a Jew and a gynecologist, but in contrast to his slightly younger colleague, the sixty-four-year-old Taussig was careful to distance himself from any direct approval of the Soviet Union’s abortion policy.
Warnings against the use of contraception appeared in Catholic diocesan papers and Sunday homilies, and premarital counseling sessions for Catholic couples invariably included instruction on the subject. The discussions of birth control in the mid-twentieth century laid the natural law groundwork for later arguments against abortion. 21 The Church’s intense focus on issues of reproduction at a time when the medical community was becoming increasingly open to the idea of birth control forced Catholic doctors to make the difficult choice between the teachings of their Church and the views of their profession.
And all of them, despite their regard for fetal life and their moral squeamishness about abortion, justified the loosening of abortion restrictions on utilitarian grounds—that is, they claimed that legalizing abortion would produce fewer social evils than the prohibitions on abortion had already caused. Robinson, had already established himself as one of the leading advocates of birth control in the United States. He was a self-identified humanist “freethinker” who had written tracts against religion and had spent the previous two decades trying to convince the public to accept eugenics (including forced sterilization of “morons and imbeciles”), pacifism (a view that got him arrested during the First World War), and non-monogamous sex.
Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade by Daniel K. Williams