chapter  8
14 Pages

Caught in a Bind: The US Pro-Choice Movement and Federalism

ByMelissa Haussman

This chapter provides a specific case study that concerns the long-term attempt by social conservatives to shift funding away from Planned Parenthood, the largest pro-choice organisation and to devote those funds to the pro-life side. It consists of social movement actors, in particular the New Right, which mobilised in the 1970s and 1980s to contest social issues relating to the family and the boundaries of permissible sexual behavior in society. The chapter suggests that the general situation of progressive movements and specifically that of pro-choice feminists in the US since the mid-twentieth century. Federalism in the US is an interesting animal. It was designed to provide checks and balances against the accrual of too much power by particular groups. There is a civic religion based on a belief in the US Constitution, with confirmation battles fought over Supreme Court Justice nominees over whether they believe in original intent.