Abortion Politics

Abortion Politics

Mutiny in the Ranks of the Right

Book - 1992
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Baker & Taylor
Argues that the abortion issue has divided the Republican Party, recounts how the Reagan administration encouraged federal agencies to harass family planning centers, and speculates on the future of Roe v. Wade

Blackwell North Amer
With the prospect that Roe v. Wade may soon be overturned, the war in our society over reproductive rights is gaining new momentum, and both sides are preparing for the legislative battles that will follow. Now, in Abortion Politics, Michele McKeegan provides a lively and dramatic account of how abortion first became a political issue, beginning in the early 1970s when a disaffected group of young Republican party strategists--including Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich, Richard Viguerie, and Pat Buchanan--had the idea of trying to forge a new conservative coalition out of previously disparate single-issue constituencies. By issuing "hit lists" of "anti-family" legislators and throwing their resources behind conservative challengers, the proponents of this strategy scored numerous successes in the mid to late 70s, galvanizing fundamentalist Protestants into first-time political involvement and pulling anti-abortion Catholics out of the Democratic party and into alignment with the traditional right. The movement's tireless grassroots organizing and fundraising appeals brought a surge of new voters into the Republican camp, wrested control of the platform committee from the party's moderate wing, and swept Ronald Reagan into office in a landslide 1980 victory.
President Reagan made numerous appointments from the ranks of the New Right, and while he declined to press such favorite conservative causes as the Human Life Amendment sponsored by Senator Helms, he quietly authorized his executive appointees to initiate a campaign of bureaucratic harassment and obstruction against the family planning establishment. McKeegan artfully reconstructs this largely unreported campaign, which was conducted with flamboyant zeal by executive agencies such as Health and Human Services, the Combined Federal Campaign Commission, and the Office of Personnel Management. But soon the zealots overreached themselves, in some cases evoking congressional sanctions; alert observers began to detect signs of strain in the conservative coalition. With Reagan's departure from office these strains developed into cracks, as Republican moderates concerned about the party's future--particularly its appeal to younger voters--increasingly sought to marginalize the New Right, and finally broke into open war with the 1992 presidential candidacy of Pat Buchanan, who threatened to lead the New Right out of the party altogether. McKeegan's absorbing account of this bitter struggle for the soul of the Republican party vividly illustrates the perils of a coalition strategy that seeks to mix religious passions into democratic politics.

& Taylor

Traces the history of abortion as a political issue and reveals how the New Right strategically used it to help sweep Ronald Reagan into office and continues to use it in a campaign against family planning.

Publisher: New York : Free Press ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, [1992]
Copyright Date: ©1992
ISBN: 9780029205334
Branch Call Number: 363.46 MCKEE
Characteristics: x, 227 pages ; 25 cm


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