Anti-Abortion Activism In The U.S. And France: Comparing Opportunity Environments of Rescue Tactics

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We explore how opportunity environments, conceptualized to include political-legal and cultural components, help explain the trajectories of movement tactics and frames employed in differing contexts. Using data from interviews, newspaper accounts, and web sites, we document how opportunity environments affected the trajectory of "rescue" tactics and frames. When abortion opponents in France attempted to block access to abortion providers in order to "rescue unborn children, " the tactic and associated frames met with a different fate than in the U.S. The legal context under which abortion was available in each nation affected the use of specific direct action tactics. Also, how abortion was culturally constructed and embedded—its "cultural opportunity structure"—affected responses to rescue by pro-life activists, the media, and the countermovement.

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