Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement

Book Cover: Tiny You
Jennifer Holland. Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement. University of California Press, 2020.

Caroline Bancroft History Prize 2021, Denver Public Library
Armitage-Jameson Prize 2021, Coalition of Western Women’s History
David J. Weber Prize 2021, Western History Association
W. Turrentine Jackson Prize 2021, Western History Association

Tiny You tells the story of one of the most successful political movements of the twentieth century: the grassroots campaign against legalized abortion. While Americans have rapidly changed their minds about sex education, pornography, arts funding, gay teachers, and ultimately gay marriage, opposition to legalized abortion has only grown. As other socially conservative movements have lost young activists, the pro-life movement has successfully recruited more young people to its cause. Jennifer L. Holland explores why abortion dominates conservative politics like no other cultural issue. Looking at anti-abortion movements in four western states since the 1960s—turning to the fetal pins passed around church services, the graphic images exchanged between friends, and the fetus dolls given to children in school—she argues that activists made fetal life feel personal to many Americans. Pro-life activists persuaded people to see themselves in the pins, images, and dolls they held in their hands and made the fight against abortion the primary bread-and-butter issue for social conservatives. Holland ultimately demonstrates that the success of the pro-life movement lies in the borrowed logic and emotional power of leftist activism.

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