The Right to Life Movement and Third Party Politics

By Robert J. Spitzer | Go to book overview

2
A PARTY IS BORN: ABORTION AND THE RIGHT TO LIFE PARTY

Few would dispute the assertion that abortion has been the great social issue of the 1970s and 1980s. Time called abortion "the most emotional issue of politics and morality that faces the nation today." 1 Pollster Peter Hart concluded in the late 1970s that a quarter of American voters would vote against an incumbent solely on his/her abortion stand. 2 Conover and Gray found that single-issue voting for the issue of abortion was more potent than that for other issues studied, including busing, gun control, school prayer, and the Equal Rights Amendment. 3 As many as one-third of respondents measured in various polls indicated a willingness to vote on abortion alone (adding together supporters of both sides of the issue). 4 What sets the abortion issue apart from other potent social issues is its ability to arouse strong political passions among widespread groups in the electorate, especially on the right-to-life side. (In particular, Conover and Gray found much more one-issue behavior on the right-to-life than the pro-choice side.) 5 In this respect, it is a true grassroots movement.


ABORTION IN NEW YORK

Ever since New York became one of the first states in the nation to liberalize its abortion laws (predating the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade by three years), the state's abortion practices have been subject to abundant public debate and political controversy. The reform law passed by the State Legis

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The Right to Life Movement and Third Party Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Exhibits ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 3
  • 1 - Single-Issue Parties in American History 5
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - A Party is Born: Abortion and the Right to Life Party 39
  • Notes 74
  • 3 - Activists and Identifiers 81
  • Summary 100
  • 4 - Party Decay, Party Renewal, and Hybrid Multi-Partyism 107
  • Notes 126
  • Epilogue 133
  • Notes 135
  • Appendix 1 137
  • Appendix 2 140
  • Bibliography 141
  • Index 149
  • About the Author 155
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