Abortion Abolitionists with Cloee Cooper

Abortion abolitionists: who are they, what drives them, and how do their tactics overlap with those of other far-right movements? Join host, Koki Mendis, and PRA Senior Research Analyst, Cloee Cooper, as we reveal the chilling facts about this nationwide syndicate of militant anti-abortion Christians. We unravel the differences between the broader pro-life movement and the abortion abolitionist movement and observe how the latter attempts to impose biblical law in the US, rallying with extreme anti-abortion leaders from the 1990s.



(0:00:00) – Abortion Abolitionists and Their Ideology (9 Minutes)

We explore the so-called abortion abolitionist movement. With me is PRA Senior Research Analyst, Cloee Cooper. We discuss who abortion abolitionists are, how they differ from the pro-life movement, and the similarities and differences in tactics between the two. We learn that abortion abolitionists are a nationwide network of militant anti-abortion Christians that has overlap with other far-right social movements. They would like to see the death penalty for any person involved in an abortion, and they draw on the extreme anti-abortion movement from the 1990s. We discuss how the pro-life movement is more interested in working within the US legal system for reforms that further restrict access to abortion, while the abortion abolitionists want to completely abolish abortion.

(0:08:54) – Christian Nationalism and the Abortion Abolitionist Movement (13 Minutes)

We explore the influence of Christian Reconstructionism on the Christian Right, and how its leader, R. J. Rushdoony, created a vision for a theocratic society that has had a significant impact on the abortion abolitionist movement. We look at Matthew Trewhella’s influence, and examine the overlap between the abortion abolitionist movement, militias, and other far-right movements. Lastly, we discuss how abortion abolitionists were involved in the Capitol insurrection in 2021.

(0:22:09) – Abortion Abolition Movement and Legislation (6 Minutes)

We examine the anti-abortion bills that have been introduced in various states, and the agenda of the abortion abolitionist movement. We compare the divide between these bills and the ones that the abolitionists are advocating for, which would criminalize anyone who has an abortion and grant legal protection to fertilized eggs. We also look at the role of Bradley Pierce, the attorney behind many of the abortion abolitionist bills, and how his Foundation to Abolish Abortion is connected to the homeschooling movement. Finally, we explore the concept of the Overton window, and how the abortion abolitionist movement is pushing for their extreme ideas to become accepted as common sense.

(0:28:14) – Strategizing Against Abortion Abolitionists (10 Minutes)

We discuss how the abortion abolitionist movement is shifting its tactics to become more mainstream and to influence change. We examine the strategies they have employed since Dobbs, such as introducing bills, running for local Republican Party precinct chairs, and building a vast online network. We look at the pro-choice religious community initiative work of Frederick Clarkson and the work of Collective Power for Reproductive Justice. Finally, we assess the need to understand the strategies of the abortion abolitionist movement and to build coalitions to establish movement strategies rooted in communities and movements on the ground.


Abortion Abolitionists, Christian Right, Christian Reconstructionism, RJ Rushdoony, Capitol Insurrection, Anti-Abortion Legislation, Homeschooling Movement, Overton Window, Pro-Choice Religious Community, Movement Strategies, Collective Power for Reproductive Justice

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