Symbolic and Instrumental Objectives for Pro-Life Direct Action

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In this paper, we analyze the rationales of antiabortion activists, or "rescuers," in the pro-life movement in a large Midwestern city, and we attempt to explain variation in the unconventional protest activities of such people. We find no differences between rescuers with either pragmatic or purist orientations, but we find that conviction experiences help predict the number of rescuers in which an individual activist will engage. We also find that protesters who give instrumental meanings to their activism are much more likely to participate in frequent sit-ins than those who attach a primarily symbolic meaning to their protests.


American Politics | Political Science | Women's Studies


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