Dr. Ann Gordon
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973)—a groundbreaking case that legalized the right to have an abortion—which signified a deep rift in the nation between the opinions of its lawmakers and citizens in the wake of a widening partisan gap. Biopower, according to Foucault, can be defined as the governing of bodies wherein citizens are stripped of bodily autonomy and are closely regulated by the nation-state. Manifested in political consequences, this can be defined as biopolitics, or when the nation-state’s ideas are made into a reality in the political realm. Religion in particular is often employed by the conservative right as justification of the U.S.’s use of biopolitics to mass control reproductive health. The research seeks to understand the implications of biopolitical warfare on women’s health through asking: (1) Why and how does religion seek to control reproductive health?, (2) How has religion influenced biopolitics and how does it continue to influence the political realm today?, and (3) In what ways has increased party polarization in addition to religious ideology contributed to the gap in public opinion on reproductive rights? Using data from the 2020 American National Election Studies, the research aims to establish how and why the religious right uses its political power for personal gain, and the ways in which both party identification and religious beliefs jointly influence abortion opinions. Overall findings suggest that increased party polarization has created an inaccurate representation of the right in positions of political power, which has further enabled the religious right to use anti-abortion legislation to control constituents. These findings contribute to present understandings of the biopolitical role that religion and party identification play in determining national reproductive health outcomes.
Barbaccia, Katlyn, "Biopolitics and Belief: The Impacts of Religious Attitudes on Reproductive Rights in the U.S." (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 564.
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