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Abortion is one of the most controversial and talked about topics of our time. It is discussed in classrooms, work places and even on the internet. The definition of abortion is the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus as the spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation.(Webster Online, Def. 1) This definition includes accidental abortion such as, miscarriage and stillbirths. But this is not what is being debated. People want to know if abortion is ethical, if the fetus can feel pain, and when it is more human than non-human. These questions are very difficult to answer and may never be answered in our lifetime, but one thing we as humans do know is that we have opinions ranging from completely anti abortion, pro-life, to completely for abortion, pro-choice, and anywhere in the wide spectrum in between. Abortion is a movement that was began almost 40 years ago. This movement has been very controversial over the years; the main reason being that it is something that there is virtually no in-between. Both movements, pro-life and pro-choice, have been one of the most controversial movements in politics. The opposition feels that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It is the right to choose whether to reproduce, adopt, or abort. It is every human being’s right to make there own decisions, and it is a woman’s right to make the choices that affect her life as she see’s morally right. As you can see there are two sides of this movement that are constantly looking for contradictions in what the other believes.
There are many different viewpoints on abortion in the United States of America. Where most Americans do not feel that abortion is necessarily good. They do believe it is a right. Others have similar opinions. They embrace contradictory opinions and consider abortion a form of murder and yet still feel it should be legal for the truly desperate. However, most Americans think abortions are morally troubling. Recent studies show that neither age nor gender appears to have any effect on people s current views on abortions.
Now that we know so much about what each movement stands for, it would be rather imperative that we know what a movement is. A movement is constituted by human beings engaged in discourses and practices designed to challenge and change society as they define it. To simplify this definition, it is a change in the status quo of society. To simplify even more, it is changing from the norm. The normal way of life 70 years ago had always been the freedom to make your own decision. In most cases that s perfectly OK, however the pro-lifers feel differently. They feel no one should have the freedom to take another life, so essentially what they are trying to change is the taking of life from another innocent human being. They re working to establish laws in an attempt to protect and support the discourses and ideologies of their movements. One question that will often arise is this. Why are people engaged in a social movement rather than coping with these problems on the individual basis or through institutionalized channel? The answer to this question is fairly simple. Pro-life supporters are involved in this for the simple reason that they feel passionately enough about it that they want to make a difference in society.
Discourses and ideologies are what make a movement a movement. Essentially what a discourse is, is what the actual movement is trying to say. What the pro-lifers say about this movement is that abortions should not be legal. They say that every innocent human being has a right to life. Pro-life advocates are involved in many practices that enhance what they say. Some simple statistics that are in support of the pro-lifers discourse are these. There are millions of babies aborted each year, but there are also millions of people that wish to adopt. As anyone can, this adds up over a few years. Now in all honesty tell me, who is against who. Pro-life advocates convey that these are only a few reasons in which to support their movement. These points and points similar to them help to dictate what is really important.
Practices are fairly self-explanatory. They include talking, writing, engaging in physical violence, and many other kinds of interactions. Practices can also involve physical objects such as flags, guns, desks, and books. Some of the obvious practices in the pro-life movement are as follows: one of the biggest practices that pro-life supporters engage in, is picketing. This is the most prevalent practice; this is where pro-life supporters will actually stand in front of an abortion clinic. This is where much of the collective behavior has arisen. Along with a lot of these practices comes hypocrisy. In 1994 pro-live supporters were picketing outside an abortion clinic when things started getting out of hand, riots broke out, people be an fighting, and as an end result the abortion clinic was burned down leaving thirteen people dead that worked inside. Think of the irony of a whole bunch of protesters trying to save lives of innocent people and killing thirteen themselves. This is not the only practice that the pro-lifers participate in. Being that abortion is predominant in the political world, they utilize with called the political opportunity structure. What this does essentially, it says that someone in power such as a president is much more motivating and has much more of an impact on society. This is someone in support of your movement. Someone opposed to it is known as an agent of social control. With the presidential candidates, whether their pro-life or pro choice actually dictates who will vote for them. This is why political power is very sought out by movements similar to the pro-lifers movement. Other pro-life practices include TV commercials. These are very successful again because all of society get to see them and base a decision upon that. There s definitely power in numbers, and what that means is as many supporters as you can have in your movement the better off a movement will actually be. This movement s practices are utilized to try to capture the ideology, a system that is of the most important. In order for any movement to gain recognition and support it must have practices and discourses.
There are two types of movements, a revolutionary movement, and reformative movement. For the single reason that abortion is very cut and dry, I would definitely say that pro-life is a revolutionary movement. A revolutionary movement is a movement seeking total change, going from one extreme to another and leaving the previous status quo behind. There are only two directions this movement can go pro-choice or pro-life. As it sits right now in society pro-choice is the favorite of the two movements in society today. This is the case because there are no laws prohibiting it. An effective change for pro-life advocates would be to have laws saying that it is illegal to abort an unborn baby. This would be the very definition of revolutionary movement, (seeking total change). The other type of movement is not so drastic as the revolutionary movement. It is what’s called a reformative movement. A reformative movement is not asking for a complete 180 degree turn around, it is asking for change within a movement that already exists to satisfy that particular organization or movement. For obvious reasons you can see how abortion would not fit into this category. Essentially what a reformative movement is saying is that it seeks only partial change rather than total change.
Mobilization is especially important in the bigger organizations such as the pro-life movement. The pro-lifers try to mobilize and involve as participants a large proportion of its support base in one or more of their organizations. It is important to this movement due to the fact that it is taking part in electoral politics. Trying to enact new laws to get your movement through congress absolutely requires mobilization. Again recognition of the pro-lifers is the ultimate goal and mobilization helps acquire that recognition that is so necessary. Some easy ways the pro-life advocates accomplish this is the mere fact that they are so widely known and so widely recognized. Along side that every TV commercial, every picket, every march, and every parade is a form of mobilization and practice.
Contrary to popular belief, a movement is not something that someone could wake up and devise in one day. There are many contributing factors to movement s success, far more than listed above. Why do movements exist? Furthermore, why would people contribute to them? Why did they decide they wanted to deal with this problem in they movement rather than deal with them independently? These are all very complex questions with very complex answers. In short, because there is a demand for it. If and when a group of people decides that they are not happy with the regular status quo, they decide to take that initiative to get that changed. My personal opinion is that movements are extremely necessary in today’s society. People in this world are living a specific way and when that way is not suitable for them, they need to make that decision to create a movement to ultimately achieve their discourse. Through researching movements, furthermore, the pro-life movement, I have to revert to an original statement I already made and that is, movements in today’s society are essential. Works Cited
Merriam-Webster Online. .
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