White text over a white illustration that spells LIFE on a light blue background
The anti-abortion or "pro-life" movement began as a response to the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1960s, in which feminists argued that abortion's illegality removed a woman's autonomy over her own body. Several states including Pennsylvania, California, and Massachusetts started chapters of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) by 1970 in order to monitor abortion legislation. The movement did not truly gain national prominence until 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman's right to an abortion could not be restricted by the government. The landmark case was a major blow to the pro-life movement, and motivated anti-abortion activists to mobilize and push abortion as a political issue.
The pro-life movement has been overwhelmingly Christian and is governed by the belief that life begins at conception, and abortion results in the death of the unborn child. Throughout the 1970s, the NRLC and other pro-life organizations attempted to pass several bills that would have reversed the Supreme Court's ruling, but were unsuccessful. Today, their goals involve state-by-state legislation limiting the situations in which abortions are possible with the ultimate goal still being the repeal of Roe v. Wade and the decision of whether females are made to carry a baby to term decided by officials of the state and courts.
Karrer, R. (2011). The Pro-Life Movement and Its First Years under "Roe". American Catholic Studies, 122(4), 47-72. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/44195373