Procreation Stories: Reproduction, Nurturance, and Procreation in Life Narratives of Abortion Act...

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Procreation Stories: Reproduction, Nurturance, and Procreation in Life Narratives of Abortion Activists by Faye Ginsburg by Mind Map: Procreation Stories: Reproduction, Nurturance, and Procreation in Life Narratives of Abortion Activists by Faye Ginsburg

1. Fargo, North Dakota

1.1. Small metropolitan center providing commercial and service industries for the surrounding rural area

1.2. Proud of their clean air, regular church attendance, rich top soil, and their actual and metaphorical distance from places like New York City

1.3. Fall 1981

1.3.1. The Fargo Woman's Health Center was the first free-standing facility in the state that publicly offered abortions

1.3.2. A right-to-life coalition against the clinic was immediately formed Pro-life : the availability of abortion represented intrusion of secularism, narcissism, materialism and anomie Said that abortion reshaped women into structural men When pro-life forces failed through conventiona; political tactics, they shifted stategy Strategy is to focus on the clinic'c clientele: want to win the minds, bodies, and power to define the women who may make the choice of abortion

1.3.3. After, a pro-choice group emerged to respond to the antiabortion activites The two groups felt as though they were under attack, and both claimed to represent the "true interests of the community"

2. Local Controversy because of Fargo clinic revealed how the struggle about abortion rights became a "contested domain for control over constellation of meanings attached to reproduction in America."

2.1. Social movements organized because of abortion, provide a chance for cultural and social definitions of gender

2.1.1. An understanding of reproduction is demonstrated through abortion activism

3. Procreation Stories: narratively shaped fragments of more comprehensive life histories

3.1. Reveal the way women use activism to frame/interpret experiences

3.2. Show how cultural definitions of the female life course and social consequences are selected, rejected, reordered, and reproduced in new forms

3.3. From 1981-1983 : Range of diversity in both pro-life and pro-choice groups

3.3.1. Diversity shows age, socioeconomic status, religion, household and marriage arrangements

3.4. 21 life stories from pro-life activists and 14 pro-choice activists

3.4.1. Each sides opinions change so research needs to be viewed at time and setting

3.4.2. Life stories are used as texts where abortion is key symbol which activists interpret and reorient their lives


4.1. On both sides of the pro-life and pro-choice sides the members are primarily white, middle class, females

4.2. Both sides also come to a consciousness that regards abortion in relation to a critical realignment of identity


4.3.1. Group born in the 1940s were pro-choice activists They had reached adulthood which generally included marriage and children

4.3.2. Pro-life women clustered in two groups Group 1: born in the 1920s were the most active in the early 1970s Group 2: born in the 1950s are currently the most active Typically made up of women who worked prior to having children and left work when they had their children.

4.4. What attracts women to opposing movements?

4.4.1. Biological Factors: a woman's sexual and reproductive experiences over life and interpretations of these events.

4.4.2. Historical Moment: What is shaping the culture when these transitional points occur? The "Fresh contact" creates conditions of the culture that ensures continual reorganization

4.4.3. Political Struggle: when abortion/motherhood become political stuggle, there is a large disruption in social order

4.5. Change through time

4.5.1. Increasing numbers of women are in the wage labor market and the traditions of marriage and family seem to be disappearing. The relationship of women to reproduction, mothering in particular, is being reinterpreted. When women stay single, childless and/or enter the work field , the understanding of nurturance and reproduction changes


4.6.1. Claimed by activists as a source of moral authority

4.6.2. Cultrural attribute that puts women at a disadvantage socially, economically, and politically

5. Goal: "effort to understand how abortion activism and abstract notions tied to it mediate between historical experience, construction of self, and social action."

5.1. Pro-choice: protection of nascent life

5.2. Pro-choice: rights and obligations of women


6.1. The Pro-Choice Narratives

6.1.1. Women who defend the Fargo abortion clinic: born between 1942-52

6.1.2. All women were influenced as young adults by social unrest of the late 1960s & early 70s.

6.1.3. Pro-choice activism connected to specific life events dealing with sexuality, pregnancy, and childbearing (choice not to have children)

6.1.4. KAY BELLEVUE:abortion rights activist since 1972 In senior year of college she got pregnant and married, the transition to motherhood was surrounded by ambivalence In early 20s Kay became active in a local chapter of La Leche League: international group promoting breast-feeding and natural childbirth In 1972 she moved to Fargo: During this time her parents were getting divorced, one of her children was having problems, and she was pregnant with child number five Ended up having an abortion of the fifth child because it was an accident and she felt that it was better for her other four children to not bring another child into the "family unit"

6.1.5. JANICE SUNDSTROM: She immediately had 2 pregancies after marriage to her High-School sweetheart a year after graduation She had one child and because she listened to the churches teachings of no birth control, she got pregnant with a second

6.2. The Right-to-Life Narratives

6.2.1. The interpretation of gender for pro-life argument is based not on a woman's possession of but in her stance toward her reproductive capacities

6.2.2. Abortion is not the termination of an individual life, it is an active denial of reproductive consequences of sex and rejection of female nurturance

6.2.3. SHIRLEY: a 63-year-old widow, part-time nurse, mother of six, middle class Had a son who became successful, at the time if abortions were available she may have aborted her son

6.2.4. HELEN:from Lutheran family, has master's in social work, has three children, used to be a pro-choice advocate Mother was sick because of recent death of child when she was pregnant with Helen, the doctors wanted to abort Helen

6.2.5. SALLY NORDSEN born between 1952-1962 (time frame makes up majority of women), went to college and married shortly after graduation, worked 7 years as social worker. Late 20s got pregnant and left work force (positive decision with ambivalence)

6.2.6. Views that a woman who endorses abortion stresses the other side of ambivalence and is "like a man"

6.2.7. Nurture is not biological but achieved


7.1. Paper examines American concepts of gender and how they are being defined by female activists in life story narratives and collective movements

7.2. The Analysis is part of two interrelated areas of research

7.2.1. The culture and social meanings of gender, reproduction, and sexuality

7.2.2. Arenas of conflict in contemporary American culture

7.3. The abortion struggle demonstrates how reproduction is given meaning and values within a historically specific set of cultural conditions

7.4. In procreation stories abortion provides framework for organizing life transitions and helps find a sense of self by controlling their opposition

7.5. Motherhood and Wage labor are continually placed in conflict: Causing the debate of abortion to continue on both sides