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Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA Journal of Gender and Law

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What's Yours Is Mine — Anti-abortion Advocacy's Roots in Controlling Our Bodies


Advocacy often boils down to messaging. It frankly doesn’t matter how right or wrong you are if you can persuade an audience on other grounds. There is no better persuasion tool than a child representative of a cause; children invoke a sense of vulnerability and a desire to protect that become stronger the younger the child is. Fetuses are the epitome of this phenomenon, making them the natural foundation for anti-abortion activists to base their messaging. This tactic has been frustratingly effective due to its tendency to shield unassuming and ambivalent individuals from the truth: those who oppose abortion do so out of a desire to exert control over an individual’s—usually a woman’s—body. If the façade of protecting children is stripped away, anti-abortion activism maintains its roots in denying individuals with uteruses full control over their bodies and reproduction.

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