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Law General

The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement

The Rise of "Pro-Woman" Rhetoric in Canada and the United States

by (author) Paul Saurette & Kelly Gordon

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2016
General, General, Gender Studies, Urban, General, Canadian, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2016
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
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When journalists, academics, and politicians describe the North American anti-abortion movement, they often describe a campaign that is male-dominated, aggressive, and even violent in its tactics, religious in motivation, anti-women in tone, and fetal-centric in arguments and rhetoric. Are they correct?

In The Changing Voice of the Anti-Abortion Movement, Paul Saurette and Kelly Gordon suggest that the reality is far more complicated, particularly in Canada.  Today, anti-abortion activism increasingly presents itself as “pro-women”: using female spokespersons, adopting medical and scientific language to claim that abortion harms women, and employing a wide range of more subtle framing and narrative rhetorical tactics that use traditionally progressive themes to present the anti-abortion position as more feminist than pro-choice feminism.

Following a succinct but comprehensive overview of the two-hundred year history of North American debate and legislation on abortion, Saurette and Gordon present the results of their systematic, five-year quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis, supplemented by extensive first-person observations, and outline the implications that flow from these findings. Their discoveries are a challenge to our current assumptions about the abortion debate today, and their conclusions will be compelling for both scholars and activists alike.

About the authors

Paul Saurette is an assistant professor with the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Paul Saurette's profile page

Kelly Gordon is a PhD candidate in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Kelly Gordon's profile page


  • Winner, The Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award awarded by the American Political Science Association
  • Winner, Donald Smiley Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association

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