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The Politicization of Abortion

The Politicization of Abortion

(p.125) Five The Politicization of Abortion
Doctors and Demonstrators
Drew Halfmann
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the differences across the three countries in abortion politics—the positions of political parties on abortion and the degree to which abortion has been an issue in elections. Abortion politics is to be distinguished from abortion policies, even if this distinction is artificial. It is artificial because parties and candidates typically campaign by touting policies that they have enacted or promise to enact, and because officials typically choose policy goals with an eye to how voters and party activists might respond to them. It is useful, however, because intraparty battles, electoral campaigns, and policy making are driven by differing causal factors. After the reforms of the Long 1960s, large movements faced off on both sides of the abortion issue in all three countries, and, at least initially, most parties and candidates were inclined to avoid the issue. British and Canadian parties, however, were more successful in doing so than American ones.

Keywords:   abortion politics, political parties, elections, abortion policies, voters, party activists, intraparty battles, electoral campaigns, policy making

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