Who's afraid of virginia dare? Confronting anti-abortion terrorism after 9/11

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Anti-abortion terrorism blatantly exemplifies the contradiction of claiming human rights for the unborn while denying them to women and clinic workers. When so-called pro-lifers began, paradoxically enough, to kill for life in the early 1990s, pro-choice advocates screamed ‘hypocrisy!’ but anti-abortion organizations barely suffered. On the contrary, the most militant pro-lifers were emboldened and began to air openly their apocalyptic ideas that abortion is a sign of the End Times of humanity and Christian life itself. Few pro-choice organizations understood the significance in the shift away from ‘rescue’ and toward apocalypse. Feminist scholars were busy examining the fetus as text in popular culture and the public sphere, or seeking (in the name of gender analysis if not coalition building) compromise and common ground among pro-life and prochoice women. Moreover, the federal government by and large turned a blind eye to the pro-life killings and the apocalypticism that motivated it. But in the wake of attacks on 11 September, 2001, the federal government for the first time called attacks on clinic personnel terrorism. Historical developments since 9/11 offer pro-choice advocates and abortion providers new opportunities—and new pitfalls—for claiming abortion rights as human rights. This essay reviews the established parameters of the abortion debate and examines the newer considerations that must be factored into a transnational fight for an all-inclusive reproductive freedom. Feminist scholarship still focuses on the fetus as text rather than the newer guerrilla strategies of the ‘pro-life’ movement because the visual politics are so powerful.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Apocalyptic Desire
Subtitle of host publicationMillennialism and Society
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781845534851
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Brenda E. Brasher, Lee Quinby and contributors 2006. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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