Article ID: CBB001550131

The Colour of the Unborn: Anti-Abortion and Anti-Bussing Politics in Michigan, United States, 1967--1973 (2014)


In October 1972, anti-abortion activists campaigned in Michigan to prevent the liberalisation of the state's 126-year-old abortion laws. Going door-to-door, they distributed over one million brochures warning voters against the consequences of supporting abortion reform in the November election.1 They blanketed football games, shopping malls and university campuses with anti-abortion flyers in the hope of swaying voters. The flyers were colour-coded: anti-abortion forces mailed red brochures to doubtful voters and mailed blue brochures to every identifiable African American voter in Michigan.2 The blue brochures contained images of black children, whereas the red brochures did not. This colour coding reflected and reinforced the racial geography of Michigan and concretely shaped the cultural imagining of the foetus. Michael Deeb, a leader of the anti-abortion forces, explained that, `The entire focus of the campaign was to change the image from a fetus to one of an unborn child and thus … the votes to our side'.3 The transformation of the image of the foetus into an image of a child was intentionally achieved through racial frameworks, themselves reflective of pre-existing racial conflicts such as school integration and welfare.4

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Authors & Contributors
Cartwright, Lisa
Thorpe, Charles
Serlin, David
Metzl, Jonathan Michel
Cox-Petersen, Anne M.
Wang, Hsingchi A.
Science and Education
Medical History
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Social Studies of Science
Review of General Pyschology
Central European History
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Wisconsin Press
Arizona State University
New York University
University of California, San Diego
University of Minnesota Press
Medicine and race
Medicine and politics
Reproductive medicine
Medicine and gender
United States
West Germany
Kansas (U.S.)
Los Angeles (California)
Great Britain
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
20th century, early
Rockefeller Foundation
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften
United States. Patent Office

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