Here’s the inside story of how the Roe v. Wade court decision spawned a far-reaching national movement and created a nationwide schism that still exists in America today. Why did the Supreme Court decision generate a nationwide anti-abortion movement? Why were the founders of this movement originally all men? Why did the Catholic Church refuse to become the primary sponsoring force in the movement, surrendering the role to the Fundamentalist Christian Right? Why did the movement turn to violence?
Risen and Thomas, reporters respectively for the Los Angeles Times and the Kansas City Star, penetrate deep inside the anti-abortion subculture in this detailed journalistic chronicle, which draws on more than 200 interviews with activists, families and experts on both sides of the battle. The authors chart the split in the right-to-life movement in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion as a "direct-action faction" frustrated by the incremental lobbying tactics of the anti-abortion mainstream that took to increasingly radical, violent measures. Led first by Catholic leftists rooted in the 1960s tradition of antiwar and social protest, it was later co-opted by militant born-again Christians, the authors contend, as Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority helped forge an unstable alliance among Protestant fundamentalists, Catholic antiabortion groups and the religious right. The book's strength lies in its chilling in-depth profiles of antiabortion militants such as evangelical Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, and born-again seminarian Michael Bray, mentor to convicted clinic bomber Thomas Spinks. Photos. (Jan.)