Vander Broek, Allison. “Rallying the Right-to-Lifers”. PhD, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107943.
This dissertation explores the formative years of the right-to-life movement in the decade prior to Roe v. Wade and explains how early right-to-lifers built a vast and powerful movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas most previous studies have focused on the connection between right-to-life organizing and the conservative ascendancy in religion and politics in the 1970s and 1980s, this dissertation studies the movement’s origins in state and local organizing in the years before Roe v. Wade and its growth into a national political crusade in the 1970s. During these years, grassroots activists fostered a vision for a broad-based right-to-life movement—a movement consisting of Americans from across the political and religious spectrums. This movement was made up of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, lay people as well as religious leaders—all of whom opposed legalized abortion for a range of reasons. Right-to-lifers believed their broad-based approach was the most effective way to fight abortion, and they embraced this diverse coalition, attacking abortion on a number of fronts with strategies ranging from legislative lobbying to alternatives to abortion to nonviolent direct action. Though their coalition eventually broke apart in the 1980s, this eclectic group of right-to-lifers built a dynamic and diverse movement and proved the powerful resonance of the abortion issue in American society.