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40 Years After Roe v. Wade, Abortion Foes Are Winning — and Losing

(RNS) Four decades after Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, many opponents of the decision are in a celebratory mood while those backing abortion rights are glum, feeling that momentum is turning decisively against them.

Tens of thousands of anti-abortion protesters filled the streets of downtown Washington for the 32nd annual March for Life on Jan. 24, 2008. Photo by Andrea James.

Yet in reality, little has changed in the fiercest and most protracted battle of the nation’s bitter culture war.

Instead, what’s really going on is a case study in the psychology of movement politics, where activists have to rally supporters with cries of alarm without making them despair that all is lost. At the same time, they must offer evidence that their efforts are paying off without leaving them complacent.

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