What abortion access advocates can learn from other social movements
In a new commentary, Dr. Katrina Kimport compares the divergent success of the marriage equality and abortion access movements. Using sociological literature, she identifies the similarities and differences between these social movements, and suggests ways that the abortion access movement could learn from the success of the marriage equality movement.
One successful strategy in the marriage equality movement was the diversity of organizations involved, from large national groups with broad media appeal to local grassroots groups that used more disruptive tactics. A similar diversity of organizations could be united for abortion access if national abortion rights groups, grassroots reproductive justice groups, and medical professional groups could forge a common cause.
Related to the involvement of diverse organizations, another successful strategy of the marriage equality movement was the use of messages that appealed to diverse audiences. This shift is already beginning to happen in the abortion access movement, moving away from a rights-based message to a broader agenda to support self-determination in decisions about starting or growing a family.
While some pundits have attributed the divergent success of these movements to the causes themselves, this analysis suggests the main differences are the structure of the movements and the messages they use.