Body Politics: How White Fear Has Fueled the Anti-Abortion Movement

A black and white photo of.a crowd of people at a protest. The people in the crowd appear to be white men. Amine M’siouri/Pexels

While the Dobbs decision addressed abortion as a moral and religious issue, that neglects the true history of the anti-abortion movement. The anti-abortion movement has historically been driven by nativism, eugenics, and white supremacy, specifically the fear that white people, especially white patriarchal men, will no longer be the ruling, majority population. This concept is also referred to as “race suicide.” As we continue to respond to the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe, it is important to keep in mind that this is not only about controlling women’s bodies but political power.

“In fact, the first wave of anti-abortion laws were entangled in arguments about nativism, eugenics and white supremacism, as they dovetailed with a cultural panic that swept the US in the late 19th and early 20th century as a result of the vast changes in American society wrought by the conflict. This panic was referred to at the time in shorthand as “race suicide.”