When did the abortion debate in America begin?

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Abortion has come up again and again on the presidential campaign trail and, no surprise, the rhetoric is split along partisan lines. Most Republicans are “pro-life” and want to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Most Democrats, on the other hand, are “pro-choice.” But it wasn’t always that way. Before Roe v Wade, the anti-abortion movement was driven mostly by Catholics, who were overwhelmingly Democrats. And in the 1960s, most of the state laws that opened up access to abortions were introduced and supported by Republicans. That’s according to Daniel Williams, a history professor at the University of West Georgia, and author of Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v Wade. So when did the abortion debate in America begin?

Credits

Guest:
Daniel Williams - University of West Georgia

Hosts:
Madeleine Brand, Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Matt Holzman, Anna Scott, Jolie Myers, Christian Bordal, Sarah Sweeney