FSU expert on social movements provides insight into public protests against Roe vs. Wade


Deana Rohlinger, a sociology professor at Florida State University and an expert on political participation and social movements, said she expects mass protests stemming from Friday’s announcement that the Supreme Court of United States voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that gave women a right to choose an abortion before fetal viability.

Deana Rohlinger, professor of sociology at Florida State University and specialist in political participation and social movements

The new ruling allows states to set their own abortion laws.

“The violence of these protests will depend in part on how states respond,” Rohlinger said. “In the states that seek to restrict abortion or (ban) abortion, these are perhaps the states where we see violent episodes between protesters and police.”

The Supreme Court ruling could prompt nearly half of states to severely restrict or ban abortion, according to reports.

Rohlinger, associate dean in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and director of research at FSU’s Institute of Politics, said protesters tend to “escalate their tactics and become more confrontational when they sense that there are no options available to them or if the government is trying to suppress them in some way.

“Violence is much more likely in these cases,” she said.

Rohlinger expressed such insight and more in a May analysis in the Washington Post. She wrote the article following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that suggested the court would overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Given what we know about the protest, we might expect abortion rights activism to become increasingly divisive if, for example, Republicans take control of Congress and the White House in the next two national elections,” she wrote. “Without political allies, proponents of abortion rights could use confrontational tactics, such as blockades and violence, to disrupt daily life and pressure politicians to make abortion available.”

Going into November’s midterm elections, Rohlinger said Friday, voters remain primarily concerned about economic issues, including rising food and gas prices and inflation. Yet the reversal of Roe v. Wade could galvanize abortion rights supporters “just like Roe galvanized for the pro-life movement 50 years ago,” she said.

“It could have a similar effect on people concerned about women’s reproductive rights and health, so we could definitely see a more robust movement develop around the issue, and it could potentially become something that helps motivate people. to go to the polls.”

News agencies can contact Rohlinger at [email protected]

Patricia Homan is another expert on the subject from FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. She is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Public Health Program, and her interests include medical sociology, population health, gender, stratification/inequality, and aging. Homan can be reached at [email protected]


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