The most recent Hobby Lobby decision reminded me of previous cases where the Supreme Court adjudicated whether federal and state funding could be used for abortions (Harris v. McRae and Williams v. Zbaras). In 1980 the Supreme Court heard two cases related to the Hyde Amendment of 1976. The Hyde Amendment is a “rider” type of legislation that prohibits federal funding of abortion when it is medically “unnecessary.” In both cases the Court affirmed the law. Scholars of the abortion debate often view the passage of this law and the Court’s support as a critical historical juncture (Ferree, Gamson, Gerhards, and Rucht 2002; Staggenborg 1989). Both the Hyde legislation and the Court’s affirmation represent the first major anti-abortion successes following the Roe v. Wade case (1973). The Roe v. Wade decision was a landmark success for the abortion-rights movement, and the victory sparked a countermobilization that was strong and effective at challenging abortion rights activists (Meyer and Staggenborg 1996). Given the most recent Hobby Lobby decision, the tangible benefits of Roe v. Wade may come into question. Continue reading
Author Archives: Erin Evans
About Erin EvansErin was involved in grassroots organizing work for over 15 years before pursuing research in social movements. She earned her master’s degree in political science in 2008 and studied animal activists’ use of political opportunities to pursue their goals, specifically constitutional amendments in Germany and Switzerland. This work was published in the top journal specializing in Animal Studies, Society & Animals, and is consistently cited by activists internationally. As a PhD student in the Sociology Department of UC Irvine, Erin studies social movements, mass media, political opportunities, and culture. Her current research deals with media coverage of social movement protest events and organizations, as well as the long-term effects of movement-relevant policy reform on science. She is also involved in several co-authored projects all dealing with the use of institutions by movements, including mass media, international non-governmental organizations dealing with environmental issues, and constitutional law.
The Animal Rights National Conference 2014 (ARNC) will be held in Los Angeles on July 10th-13th. An organization called the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) organizes the conference. As the organization says on its website, the conference is “the world’s largest & longest-running event dedicated to the liberation of animals from all forms of human exploitation and use.” Even with this clear declaration of “liberation,” and FARM’s history of not participating in politically reformist tactics, FARM’s conference is attacked virtually every year for not being abolitionist, or radical, enough. Prominent figures in the movement, such as Gary L. Francione, accuse the organizers of not adhering to strictly to all-or-nothing vegan advocacy on behalf of animals. Francione is a law professor, author, and a major figurehead in the movement. Most of his current work contains little outside of bashing activists who use anything except educational outreach about veganism. Continue reading →