Although much has been written about the anti-abortion movement in the United States, Jennifer Holland
(Assistant Professor of U.S. History, University of Oklahoma) has written the first monograph-length history of the pro-life campaign for American hearts and minds. In her book Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement
(University of California Press, 2020), Holland explores the development of the movement from the legalization of Roe v. Wade in 1973 to the present with a focus on its cultural, social, political, and religious dynamics particularly in the American West, based in part on 28 oral histories collected from its activists and leaders. In this interview, we discuss the evolution of the movement’s rhetoric and tactics, including the manipulation of histories of oppression including slavery and the Holocaust to further anti-abortion campaigns, the cooption of concepts like morality and ethics, the uses of fetal imagery in protests and promotional materials, the achievement of legislative successes including the limitations placed on abortion access since the Bush years, and the personal as political (and vice versa). Ultimately, Holland argues that anti-abortion activists have won the American culture war, and now likely stand poised for ultimate victory in the coming years.
Diana Dukhanova is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at Brown University in Providence, RI.