This article examines the transnational work that since the 1990s has increasingly opposed abortion in terms of protecting women. It therefore explores how pro-woman rhetoric is used to foster right-wing politics by way of, and beyond, the fight over abortion. Narratives depicting white women as dupes of a sordid, satanic system of abortion provision ignore the fact that most women report feeling relief—not grief, regret, or trauma—after terminating an unwanted pregnancy. To get a sense of the political and cultural influence that right-wing movements gain when they play the woman card, we must trace antiabortion collaborations transnationally. Reading representations of “woman” cross-culturally and intersectionally, this article analyzes the political collusions and cultural work achieved by depicting white women as victims of abortion. To do so I focus on three countries where national identity is especially bound up with whiteness and where abortion is particularly contested: Ireland, Russia, and the United States. This cross-cultural look at antiabortion collaboration reveals a transnational traffic in tactics, personnel, and funds that fuel right-wing politics and ideology and that therefore contribute to the global rise of the Right that characterizes the contemporary moment.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019

Notes/Citation Information

Published in Signs, v. 44, no. 3.

© 2019 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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