Pro-Life Movement

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PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT. The pro-life movement is the movement to block women's access to legal abortion and to recriminalize the procedure. Abortion rights opponents coined the term "pro-life" after the Supreme Court ruled in 1973's Roe v. Wade that the Constitution of the United States protects abortion rights. Its members term themselves "pro-life" in contrast to supporters of women's right to the option of abortion, whom they call "pro-abortion." Some participants use direct action and the language of the civil rights movement to obstruct abortion clinics and harass personnel and clients. Since Randall Terry and Joseph Scheidler launched Operation Rescue in 1987, violence against clinics has escalated to the extent that the 1990s witnessed murders of doctors performing abortions and of clinic personnel.


Colker, Ruth. Abortion and Dialogue: Pro-choice, Pro-life, and American Law. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

Craig, Barbara Hinkson, and David M. O'Brien. Abortion and American Politics. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, 1993.

Ginsburg, Faye D. Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Gorney, Cynthia. Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Nancy B.Palmer/d. b.

See alsoBirth Control Movement ; Pro-Choice Movement ; Women's Health ; Women's Rights Movement: The Twentieth Century .