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Pro-Life Picketing At Abortion Clinics in the 1990s: The Role of Resources, Elites, and Institutions
Unformatted Document Text:  400 Pro-Life Picketing At Abortion Clinics in the 1990s: The Role of Resources, Elites, and Institutions Introduction Abortion is legal in all 50 states, but the pro-life movement does not protest against abortion with same intensity in each state. This chapter explains why pro-life protest varies by showing how movement resources, political institutions, and the composition of political elites influenced the frequency of picketing at abortion clinics in the 1990s. After Bill Clinton defeated George Bush in 1992, pro-life activists responded by shifting from lobbying to more grass-roots activities, such as marches and rallies (Toner 1993). Picketing at abortion clinics also increased dramatically. According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), abortion providers witnessed 292 incidents of picketing in 1991. By 1992, the amount of picketing increased to 2898 incidents, an almost tenfold increase. The passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994 increased the penalties for blockading an abortion clinic, but nonviolent picketing of abortion clinics remained popular because of its status as a legally protected First Amendment activity. Although violent incidents, such as bombings and murders of abortion providers, attract more attention, these incidents are relatively rare compared to picketing. The much more common activity of pro-life picketing of abortion clinics better explains how the fortunes of the pro-life movement vary across states. Organizational Resources Resource mobilization theory argues that increasing the resources available to a social movement encourages activists to mobilize more frequently (Jenkins 1985; Jenkins and Perrow 1977; McCarthy and Zald 1987). Political process theory goes farther than

Authors: Pennington, Jon.
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400
Pro-Life Picketing At Abortion Clinics in the 1990s: The Role of Resources, Elites,
and Institutions

Introduction
Abortion is legal in all 50 states, but the pro-life movement does not protest against
abortion with same intensity in each state. This chapter explains why pro-life protest
varies by showing how movement resources, political institutions, and the composition of
political elites influenced the frequency of picketing at abortion clinics in the 1990s.
After Bill Clinton defeated George Bush in 1992, pro-life activists responded by shifting
from lobbying to more grass-roots activities, such as marches and rallies (Toner 1993).
Picketing at abortion clinics also increased dramatically. According to the National
Abortion Federation (NAF), abortion providers witnessed 292 incidents of picketing in
1991. By 1992, the amount of picketing increased to 2898 incidents, an almost tenfold
increase. The passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994
increased the penalties for blockading an abortion clinic, but nonviolent picketing of
abortion clinics remained popular because of its status as a legally protected First
Amendment activity. Although violent incidents, such as bombings and murders of
abortion providers, attract more attention, these incidents are relatively rare compared to
picketing. The much more common activity of pro-life picketing of abortion clinics
better explains how the fortunes of the pro-life movement vary across states.

Organizational Resources
Resource mobilization theory argues that increasing the resources available to a social
movement encourages activists to mobilize more frequently (Jenkins 1985; Jenkins and
Perrow 1977; McCarthy and Zald 1987). Political process theory goes farther than


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