The 1990s

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Reproducing Patriarchy: Reproductive Rights Under Siege
by Pam Chamberlain and Jean Hardisty
The Public Eye Magazine - Vo. 14, No. 1

During the 1990s, the anti-choice movement continued its campaign to erode abortion rights for women. Frustrated in its larger goal of eliminating abortion, the movement became more militant and increasingly resorted to violence. Far right white supremacist and neo-Nazi individuals publicly joined forces with anti-choice militants. The far right's ideological agenda addresses women's reproductive rights in a variety of ways. White supremacist, white separatist, and neo-Nazi organizations attract members who may hold pro-life beliefs and attitudes. But central to their worldview is a belief in the absolute nature of race and the genetic superiority of a white race over its perceived enemies- Blacks, Jews, Latinos, Asians, and gays. Groups such as White Aryan Resistance, Aryan Nations, and the Ku Klux Klan believe that the increased number of people of color in this country threatens to diminish the power of whites. So, they may oppose abortion among whites as a form of "racial genocide" while advocating the use of abortion as a way to control the birthrate of people of color.

However, public advocacy of abortion for women of color might alienate potential far right supporters who oppose all abortion. For many in the far right, selective abortion as a tool of eugenics might be acceptable on pragmatic grounds, but abortion should be discouraged as a practice, not only because it is immoral, but because it is politically unwise. For instance, David Duke- ex-KKK leader, anti-Semite, and white supremacist- has avoided openly advocating abortion for women of color by focusing more generally on the "taxpayer subsidy of massive welfare-financed illegitimate birthrates."11

Other leaders emerged who were not far right but whose "pro-life" activism became more militant and hard core. Mark Crutcher is an example of an activist who turned to more extreme tactics. As president of the Texas-based Life Dynamics, Inc., Crutcher's focus has shifted from simple harassment strategies, such as encouraging his allies to call clinics and tie up their toll-free phone lines, to a more elaborate set of tactics, which he calls "a guerrilla strategy for a pro-life America."12 These more extreme activities attempt to limit the accessibility of abortions by decreasing the number of doctors who perform the procedure. His tactics are shameless attempts at disinformation. For instance, Crutcher uses crude jokes in direct mail campaigns to medical students and new doctors in order to convince them of the low status of "abortionists." 13 He claims abortion providers engage in a black market trade of fetal body parts. But his most sophisticated activism is his traveling seminar, in which his staff trains lawyers in the details of successful medical malpractice suits against abortion providers.

Collaboration between far right groups and pro-life activists has apparently produced some of the more violent anti-abortion acts. Evidence exists linking individuals who commit arson, bombing and murder against abortion providers with the KKK, the Christian Patriot movement and other far right ideologies such as Christian Identity, a loose configuration of theologically-oriented white supremacist groups.14

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