Deana A. Rohlinger

Deana A. Rohlinger is a professor of sociology at Florida State University and author of Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Recent Articles

Under Siege, Abortion-Rights Advocates Must Link Health Care to Economic Prosperity

A reproductive rights movement that had lost touch with women’s economic concerns is partly to blame for an election outcome that now puts basic constitutional rights in jeopardy.

(Photo: Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Anti-abortion advocates are rejoicing in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. In their view, Roe v. Wade , the Supreme Court decision that upheld a woman constitutional right to abortion and that barred states from banning the procedure in the first trimester, was on the ballot. In the words of the National Right to Life Committee’s Dave Andrusko : “The pro-life side—the defenders of unborn babies—won.” Roe v. Wade could be on the chopping block, as could Doe v. Bolton , the Supreme Court case that defined viability as the potential for a fetus to live outside of the womb. As Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins told supporters in an email, “It’s now very easy to imagine a day when Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton will be overturned, and when Planned Parenthood, our nation’s abortion Goliath, will be defunded of half a billion dollars in taxpayer money.” This is not hyperbole. If Trump’s promises to overturn...

Turning the Anti-Abortion Tide

The Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling effectively renders unconstitutional abortion restrictions in some two-dozen states, forcing abortion opponents to play defense for the first time in decades.

Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA via AP Images
For the first time since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings established a constitutional right to an abortion in 1973, pro-life advocates find themselves squarely on the losing side of a watershed legal decision. The high court’s dramatic 5-3 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt upends laws in two-dozen states around the country that have imposed abortion restrictions comparable to those struck by the court on June 27. In a ruling that cemented the importance of its decades-old finding that states may not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions, the Court rejected a Texas law that had mandated that clinics meet the standards of hospitals, and that their personnel have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The Texas requirements had slashed the number of clinics offering abortion in the state by more than half, yet the high court could find “no significant health-related problem that the new...

FDA Ruling Reshapes Abortion Battle

New federal labeling guidelines for the abortion pill deliver a major victory to the abortion-rights movement, and throw opponents of the procedure on the defensive.

(Photo: AP/Olivier Douliery)
The emotional battle over abortion has been fought out before the Supreme Court, in state legislatures, and on Capitol Hill, but the Food and Drug Administration has just changed the terms of engagement. The FDA’s decision this week to approve new labeling guidelines for medical abortion delivers a huge victory to the pro-choice movement, and robs pro-life advocates of a key tool for restricting access to the procedure. The action makes the abortion pill mifepristone more widely accessible and easier to administer to women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. For more than a decade, public health advocates have urged the FDA to relax its labeling rules for mifepristone to bring them more in line with longstanding European practices and with obstetric recommendations. The new guidelines lengthen the window during which women may induce an abortion medically, from 49 to 70 days, and trim from three or four to two the number of trips women will have to make to a medical...

The Far-Reaching Consequences of the Supreme Court Abortion Rights Challenge

Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt represents a critical moment for reproductive rights, which anti-abortion advocates have been chipping away at for decades.

(Photo: AP/Eric Gay)
The abortion rights challenge known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt , which comes before the Supreme Court for oral arguments Wednesday, is the latest battle in the four-decade war over legal abortion in the United States. Pro-life and pro-choice activists have engaged in pitched legal conflict ever since the Supreme Court issued thunderbolt decisions in the 1973 landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton , which together established the constitutional right to abortion. Pro-choice advocates initially believed that these two Supreme Court decisions settled the main issues, but pro-life activists have steadily chipped away at legal abortion rights and access. Until the Hellerstedt case, pro-choice activists were caught in a vicious political cycle: Pro-life proponents would introduce legislation restricting abortion access, and reproductive health advocates would try to prevent its passage and its implementation—with limited success. In Hellerstedt , pro-choice...