Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century

The pro-life movement would be nowhere without grassroots activists who are women, writes Karissa Haugeberg in Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Haugeberg explains what attracted her as an academic historian to this topic, whether her liberal professorial colleagues give her funny looks when she describes her research interests, and whether feminism and pro-life activism can coexist.

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There are 20 comments.

  1. Lois Lane Coolidge

    There was a large wave of historians writing about conservatives not that long ago. It was the “thing” in publishing. Many of the historians who were writing were not conservative at all, and this is sometimes evident when reading their work.

    However, historians in general want to understand/record history, so I’m not at all surprised that the professor found support amongst her colleagues for this project. It’s not as if she was writing a polemic about how she is conservative or pro-life–which she may or may not be–and that seems to me to make all the difference in academia.

    (Maybe that impression is unfair on my part. I’m not sure. It’s just been my experience.)

    • #1
    • May 30, 2017, at 6:12 AM PST
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  2. John Miller Contributor

    Thanks for listening. This book is clearly a part of the trend you cite. We’re still seeing books like this pop up in the academic press. I’m trying to cover them as best as I can with this podcast. They don’t receive much MSM attention.

    • #2
    • May 30, 2017, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. George Townsend Inactive

    I enjoy these podcasts. This books’ title really intrigued me. I went to Amazon, and saw there was one review. He highlighted just the negative stuff, and made it sound as if the author was pro-abortion. She does keep using the phrase “anti-abortion”, instead of “pro-life”. So, I am not really sure what to make of this book.

    • #3
    • May 30, 2017, at 9:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    I enjoy these podcasts. This books’ title really intrigued me. I went to Amazon, and saw there was one review. He highlighted just the negative stuff, and made it sound as if the author was pro-abortion. She does keep using the phrase “anti-abortion”, instead of “pro-life”. So, I am not really sure what to make of this book.

    The fact that she had the support of other academics makes me feel that she is probably orthodox with her views, i.e. pro-choice. As I mentioned above, there was a movement in publishing in which conservatives began to be studied more, but this was not because of any sympathy with their positions. I think if John had asked her about her position on abortion, she would probably have demurred with an answer about that being irrelevant, but I don’t know since he didn’t ask.

    Regardless, a good historian is able to get beyond his/her biases and look at facts with an objective lens. For this reason, I think it’s important she’s done this work, and I was intrigued by the interview because I wondered why the two women who had been put in front of the early movement broke away to form their own groups. I assume those groups were also pro-life, so I wanted to know how Haugeberg then narrowed the pro-life movement in her work. Why were these women not still part of whatever it was Haugeberg is highlighting? I mean… were they not still women against abortion?

    I suppose to learn the answer, I’ll have to read the monograph. ;)

    • #4
    • May 30, 2017, at 10:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. George Townsend Inactive

    Thank you, Lois. I always appreciate your comments. And I certainly agree that history is important, and the best historian is free of bias (although interpretation is important too, and Michael Medved is my favorite historian).

    The reason I was excited about the title is that the MSM is always trying to make us believe that women are pro-choice, and that choice is always abortion. This is untrue, and, typically, very condescending. It is great that many of today’s organizations feature young women who are against this terrible practice, and want to really give women a choice. I was hoping this book would highlight that. The beginnings of the movement were bad, and it is good that things are now better.

    • #5
    • May 30, 2017, at 10:50 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Well, the hilarious thing to me, @georgetownsend, is that lots of history shows a narrative at odds with that put forth by people today. For example, early suffragettes were often conservative and certainly Republicans. Few Americans seem to remember women could vote in multiple states per federalism long before the Constitution was changed. Long before Schlafly fought the ERA, feminists understood the power of female privilege and worked against such things. This is not to obscure real struggles but to say the past has a lot to convey even though we often hear crickets.

    Thanks for the kind words. I like Medved, too, though I think of him more as a talk show host than a historian. I liked Right Turns though! And I find him intellectually consistent now.

    • #6
    • May 30, 2017, at 2:30 PM PST
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  7. George Townsend Inactive

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I like Medved, too, though I think of him more as a talk show host than a historian. I liked Right Turns though! And I find him intellectually consistent now.

    May I suggest that you buy his history tapes, Lois? I have the whole library, which can be pricey, but he has sales sometimes. And he is great telling stories – the Revolution, Lincoln, Washington, the Constitution, etc. Well worth it, I think. I wish I was that smart! And his encyclopedic mind is something, for remembering things.

    Oh, and you know history well too. You remind me that, were it not for the Susan B. Anthony group, I’d never know how they felt about abortion.

    • #7
    • June 2, 2017, at 7:18 AM PST
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  8. Lois Lane Coolidge

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    May I suggest that you buy his history tapes, Lois?

    I have listened to some of them. I do enjoy them, and I’d definitely suggest his tapes to others. Medved has a very nice presentation style, and he’s a great story teller.

    Let me explain though.

    I am a history professor, but I am not necessarily a historian. This is a super specific thing for me that goes beyond the bounds of what I think Michael primarily does, which is to analyze current events.

    I suppose I could explain it this way.

    I teach a class in which I use Supreme Court rulings to help students understand certain shifts in American history. To teach that class, I’ve had to learn a lot about the law as applied in different eras. However, I am not a lawyer. I do not practice law.

    So how does one practice history? How does one become a historian?

    I’d say it is not really about credentials but original work/research.

    Now, I know that Medved has a couple of books that may hit that “historian” bar, so I might be being unfair to him. (I haven’t read those books, so they’re hard for me to assess.)

    I also like some popular historians who have made great contributions to historiography without having wasted away in graduate school getting academia’s stamp of approval. (David McCullough comes to mind.)

    I guess I just think of Medved more as I think of myself: a person who knows a lot of history–and is a teacher of history–but not a person who is necessarily adding a lot to the record…

    Does that make sense?

    By no means is that meant to be a criticism.

    Truly, Michael Medved is pretty much the only talkshow host I find myself listening to at all anymore. I do value his insights and opinions. I would certainly describe him as an expert on politics.

    • #8
    • June 2, 2017, at 10:00 AM PST
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  9. George Townsend Inactive

    Gee, you know, there really is so much I want to say to you. Lois, I truly find you fascinating. I like the comment, for example, about not having to have to so many credentials to do good work. Look at what the left did to Betsy DeVos, a fine woman, who’s devoted her life to trying to help others.

    I also like your comment on Medved. He is far and away my favorite. He never does an uninteresting show. Even when the topic doesn’t interest me. The thing that does bother me about him is that he puts up with too much. He has some truly rotten callers, and he will tell them they make good points. I even sometimes want to fly or Washington, and say, ‘Michael, you are so much better than this. Stop being a masochist.”

    Hugh Hewitt is my next favorite. Farther down the list though. But he does impart some good information. I used to enjoy Dennis Prager, and I still listen, but he has gotten really annoying to me.

    I do get what you are saying about history, and your fine distinctions about things. I’m sure your students get a lot out of your classes, and I congratulate you.

    By the way, I’m sorry but I can’t resist this: How is Superman? LOL

    • #9
    • June 2, 2017, at 5:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I’m fascinating??? Well, that’s a first, @georgetownsend. I’ll take it!!! :)

    I appreciate the discussion. Truth be told, Superman hates politics. He likes history though, so we still have some possibilities for good dinner conversation! :D

    I went to see Wonder Woman tonight, which was pretty good, but I got really excited by the preview for Dunkirk. I’m sure the script will play fast and loose with some fictional characters, but I’ll be thrilled many people will be introduced to a real event they might not know much about.

    After all, daughters of Zeus don’t really exist, but some of the feats of men shouldn’t be forgotten…. I should check out Medved’s WW review. I wonder if he liked it….

    • #10
    • June 2, 2017, at 7:28 PM PST
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  11. Lois Lane Coolidge

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    ‘Michael, you are so much better than this. Stop being a masochist.”

    Hugh Hewitt is my next favorite. Farther down the list though. But he does impart some good information. I used to enjoy Dennis Prager, and I still listen, but he has gotten really annoying to me.

    Also, yeah. Michael is very polite. I’m from the South though, so I’m okay with that. He often just looks smarter because he’s so civil. It’s a good policy to let a rude man talk….

    I haven’t heard Hugh Hewitt in a very long while, though I did like him, too. (He doesn’t come on where I live now… at least not when I’m in my car.)

    Prager has gotten a bit too sanctimonious for me, though I would listen to him if he was on.

    I do try to hear a wide range of voices if possible, but I wouldn’t seek Dennis, if you know what I mean. I’d actually flip the dial to find Michael.

    • #11
    • June 2, 2017, at 7:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. George Townsend Inactive

    May I ask a big favor, Lois? My e-mail is: [email protected]. I don’t want you to give me yours here. Even those conservatives are great people, I wouldn’t want you to be deluged with e-mails. But, if you would like to send me one, I’d be delighted to keep our conversation going? I do find you fascinating!

    By the way, I like the old TV show The Adventures of Superman. I am 63 now, but basically a little boy at heart! :-)

    • #12
    • June 3, 2017, at 3:49 AM PST
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  13. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Isn’t there a way to correspond through the website? Let’s be”friends” and then that’s easy enough, right?

    • #13
    • June 3, 2017, at 4:50 AM PST
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  14. George Townsend Inactive

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    Isn’t there a way to correspond through the website? Let’s be”friends” and then that’s easy enough, right?

    Frankly, I don’t know. Let me explain why I asked you this. There are two reasons:

    • I think this website is mainly for people who want to comment on the podcasts, and for us to ramble back and forth on our likes and dislikes would be sort of an abuse of that.
    • But, also, writing here is hard for me, because, for some reason, I can’t write on this medium the way I can in an e-mail, or in Word, for example. As a matter fact, I have been composing my thoughts (for example, I am sometimes comment on the Need To Know Podcast) in Word, and transferring those to this medium. When I write directly here, the letters don’t show up right away. They appear in slow motion. Sounds crazy, right? But that is what happens. I am not the world’s greatest typist, and, if make a mistake, I don’t know it right away. So I may have to erase some words, go back, and type them again. It is tedious and aggravating. If I didn’t have Word, I may just give up my membership, because it is so frustrating.
    • #14
    • June 3, 2017, at 8:09 AM PST
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  15. George Townsend Inactive

    Could I say one more thing about this? I’ve been thinking about this latest colloquy, and I have an idea.

    See, I am a writer. It is a long story. But I was just laid off, after over 32 years, because of Outsourcing. I don’t want to retire, but I don’t want to try and find some other company at my age. I have not published since I began to work for AIG. But, I’ve always loved writing, and think I am good at it.

    My idea is try to write a piece about how scared people can be today of giving out information, and how sad that is. So thanks for the idea! ?

    • #15
    • June 3, 2017, at 9:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Oh, George. I am a super freak. Mainly, I found Facebook created weird spaces with people I once knew. Now I am just easing back into social media. That’s a GREAT topic for an article though. You have a good forum to collect people’s views on the members feed, too! And I will figure out how to email you here when I’m not just on a cellphone. I am traveling this weekend….

    • #16
    • June 3, 2017, at 12:01 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. George Townsend Inactive

    Lois, I’ve been hurt too. I guess most people have. And from people I used to work with, and done favors for. I think most people are so emotional today. And arrogant too. Seems they only care about what they think, and to heck with anyone else. It is very disconcerting, to say the least.

    I have a good feeling about you, though, and I’d like to make you a promise: If you do want to e-mail me, and I ever hurt you, or say anything that you consider disrespectful, I want you to – despite your southern heritage – curse me out. Or do anything you want to do.

    Deal?

    Safe travels. And have a good time!

    • #17
    • June 3, 2017, at 12:23 PM PST
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  18. George Townsend Inactive

    I have an awful memory. I wanted to tell you that Michael gave Wonder Woman 3 ½ out of four stars. He thought the ending a bit much. So he left off the 4th star. ?

    • #18
    • June 3, 2017, at 1:34 PM PST
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  19. Lois Lane Coolidge

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    My idea is try to write a piece about how scared people can be today of giving out information, and how sad that is. So thanks for the idea! ?

    I thought about this post this weekend, George, and I think you should write your article. To help get you started, I’ll give you my perspective.

    I am not really frightened of getting hurt on social media, but this is a compartmentalized world for me because… well… experience has taught me that one should compartmentalize social media. (As I’m a conservative, I learn from experience.) ;)

    Unless I have a byline on a story for which I’ve been paid, I like anonymity in this sort of forum. This website is predominantly about politics, after all, and the “mask” allows for a little more openness when discussing that topic in a cyber world where all words are recorded forever. (No one is going to google search my name and come up with my politics here because my name is not Lois Lane.)

    It’s not that I mind anyone knowing my positions in general, but I teach, and I don’t want students to feel I have views that would alienate them when they sit in my classroom. (That may be a silly impulse on my part, but I had a professor once whom I googled. He wrote a lot about the sulphur that clung to Republicans, and… well…)

    Mind, whether I am “anonymous” or not, I believe in civil conversation and would no more insult a fellow human being who is tapping away on some screen miles away than I would than insult a fellow human being in a grocery store line. I’m just not like that. (I really do think we are who we are when we go by pseudonyms OR the names on our birth certificates. In fact, I think you really “see” who people are–kind spirits (like you are!) OR trolls–when they can say anything they’d like but don’t.)

    Still, I am much more private about my “real” life now than I have been in the past.

    This isn’t because there aren’t amazing people with whom I’ve interacted. If I didn’t find folks with some shared interests that I can discuss with them on-line, I would only listen to the Ricochet podcasts.

    Let me explain it this way.

    A college student told me about how he hit up a girl one day. He’d found out her name and done a lot of “research” on line. He thought he would be smooth… pretend he was magic knowing her name, likes, etc.

    What happened?

    He freaked her the heck out.

    When he explained, she understood, but I’m sure she erased a lot of her cyber presence.

    I get that girl.

    I’d rather just be “Lois” here.

    When you write your article, put @LoisLane in a comment, and I’ll read it! :)

    • #19
    • June 8, 2017, at 6:34 AM PST
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  20. George Townsend Inactive

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    A college student told me about how he hit up a girl one day. He’d found out her name and done a lot of “research” on line. He thought he would be smooth… pretend he was magic knowing her name, likes, etc.

    There is so much to say here that I am not sure where to begin.

    First of all, that kid was clearly wrong. Mistakes of the young, I guess. I made plenty of them. I also sort of freaked out a young lady myself once. This was many, many moons ago, when I first got a computer and happened on a woman in whom I thought to be friends. To tell the truth, it was so long ago that I neither remember how we met, nor what I said that caused her to say she was beginning to feel funny. I have much more experience now (comes with age), and also realize what jerks there are online (just read Twitter).

    Thanks for saying that I am a kind spirit. I try to be. As I said, I’ve made mistakes, but, although I stopped going to church, again my moons ago, I do have a deep faith, and try to do what I think God wants from us. I so loath rudeness and obnoxious behavior that I had a big “discussion” once, with a friend, about Bill O’Reilly. I never understood what people saw in this boorish man.

    Secondly, I had in mind to tell you a lot more about myself, but, for the two reasons stated in a previous colloquy, I do not think this is the venue. I will say this: I’ve started that article, and I so wanted to send it to you. But, I plan to try to publish it elsewhere. I submitted three pieces to Commentary, which I subscribe to, and am waiting for them to get back to me. If they do agree to publish them, this will be the first time in over 30 years that I’ve been paid for a piece. The amount isn’t that important, but I do want something. The recognition of being in such a thoughtful and prestigious publication as that would be a dream come true, also.

    Lois, I really do think a lot of you, and am gratified that you chose to write such a thoughtful piece to me. I am not really sure what happens now. I am just grateful, though, that we’ve gotten to know each other a bit.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve not been to college, but understand what you wrote about that professor. I sort of touched on it in one of the pieces I submitted to Commentary.

    Please be well? I feel strongly now more than ever that you are fascinating. ?

    • #20
    • June 9, 2017, at 7:53 AM PST
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