The Most Dangerous Place: Pro-Life Politics and the Rhetoric of Slavery

Postmodern Culture 22 (2) (2012)

Authors
Lisa Guenther
Vanderbilt University
Abstract
In recent years, comparisons between abortion and slavery have become increasingly common in American pro-life politics. Some have compared the struggle to extinguish abortion rights to the struggle to end slavery. Others have claimed that Roe v Wade is the Dred Scott of our time. Still others have argued that abortion is worse than slavery; it is a form of genocide. This paper tracks the abortion = slavery meme from Ronald Reagan to the current personhood movement, drawing on work by Orlando Patterson, Hortense Spillers, and Saidiya Hartman to develop a discourse of reproductive justice that grapples with the wounded kinship of slavery and racism.
Keywords Slavery  Abortion  Black Feminism  Social death  Race
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