Propaganda is defined as information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. It is also known as brainwashing because when information is presented in a certain way over and over, it can sway an impressionable person’s beliefs.
In politics, propaganda is used frequently to push a party’s agenda. Propaganda was heavily used in the Roe vs. Wade Supreme court case in 1973. This court case legalized abortions which was an extremely controversial topic at the time. Propaganda played a huge role in the final decision of this case. To this day, abortion is still highly debated between Pro-lifers and Pro-choicers.
Pro-life believes that life begins at conception, and therefore, should not be terminated. Pro-choice believes that life begins at birth, and women should have control over their own body. Both these sides use propaganda to attack each other and convince people to pick a belief system. Propaganda aided in legalizing abortions back in 1973, and in present day, still continues to influence people both on the affirmative and negation side.
As feminism started to rise in the 1960s, these groups used multiple propaganda techniques to convince people that abortion was a violation to basic human rights and privacy. Policy agendas are issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people involved in politics at a point in time. If a political issue becomes debated about enough, and lots of tension is created, then it can be added to policy agendas that branches of government take a look at.
If one of the branches of government decide that the political issue is significant, then it will become public policy which is a choice that government makes in response to a political issue. Feminists groups were aware of this, so they knew that if they made enough noise about ethical violations of banning abortion, then they could make it legalized.
To gain supporters, they used propaganda. It all started in June of 1969 when Norma McCorvey discovered she was pregnant. She was without a husband, pregnant, and was desperately seeking an abortion. At the time, the state of Texas only allowed abortion in life-threatening conditions. She then sued the state of Texas. Her story was heard throughout the country, and many people were willing to fight for the right to have an abortion.
That is when groups used propaganda to cause enough uproar to persuade the Supreme Court to rule the case in McCorvey’s favor. First, they used Mccorvey’s story to create sympathy. McCorvey had lost her job and without a spouse, she was unable to care for a third child. McCorvey’s story touched many hearts, and people started to protest. People started to make signs that stated that a woman should have control of their body. They also stated that prohibiting abortions violate the ninth amendment (the right to privacy) and the 14th amendment (the basics rights of citizens).
The sympathy spin on the issue influenced people’s opinion. The feminist group successively got people on their sides, and on January 22nd, 1973, the Supreme Court decided that restricting abortions was unconstitutional. America is a representative democracy which means that people’s voice is heard. That is why linkage institutions, the political channels through which people’s concerns become political issues on the policy agenda, use propaganda because they know that if they create enough of an issue, then people will take action. Propaganda was a huge contender of the Roe v Wade case to help legalize abortions throughout the country.
While the case was settled in 1973, abortion is still a highly debated issue today, and propaganda continues to gain support in an even more aggressive matter. Equality has become extremely important in society as different groups try to fight for their rights. The idea of people having freedom to make their own choices whether it is what they do with their bodies or who they love is valued highly in today’s world. Propaganda techniques utilize this idea to its core to gain momentum on their pro-choice stance. The main difference between the time of Roe v Wade and today is social media.
When people want to push propaganda throughout the world, they use social media as their platform, and it is effective for the younger generation. The propaganda today has been more targeted towards the men who try to get rid of abortions because it goes along with the idea that people are trying to restrict the basic rights of citizens. There have been many political cartoons exclaiming that most people in politics are old men, and for men to have a say in what a woman should do with their bodies is outrageous. Women argue that they are misrepresented in the world of politics and are demanding change.
America has been divided between the right and left wing, and both sides are using propaganda everyday to attack each other. In the recent shootings, many people have tried to tie abortion into the argument of gun control by creating numerous posters with the phrase, “Guns have more rights than my vagina”. This poster gained a lot of popularity and caused many people to be pro-choice. Propaganda has evolved into more extreme arguments, but it has proven effective in today’s efforts to gain equality.
Propaganda has also increased today in the stance of pro-life. The argument for that belief system is still the same, but they way it is presented has become much more extreme on this side as well. The groups that are most against abortion are the extremely religious groups. They put out a number of articles, cartoons, and advertisements against abortion. One political cartoon depicts a fetus in the womb crying out, “Who asked my opinion in all this abortion debate?”.
This cartoon is putting out the message that life begins at conception, and it is morally wrong to end it. Another use of propaganda was the film of “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer”. This movie is about an abortion doctor being convicted for murder for all the abortions he committed. Propaganda through Hollywood is usually more successful because the motives are harder to spot in movies vs political cartoons and advertisements.
The message may be clear in this movie seeing as how they are comparing an abortion doctor to a serial killer, but this negative connotation can change people’s opinion with how they view the act. If someone is told that something is bad repeatedly, then it will sway someone out there. Pro life people will not stop until abortions become outlawed.
Propaganda has shaped the world of politics in the past, present, and will continue to in the future. It is about spinning a message to persuade the audience. It was used in the Roe v Wade by showcasing Norma McCorvey’s story to attract sympathy from the people. It also utilized timing in regards to the rise of feminism and women having control. Propaganda is still used today in the Pro-choice stance through social media and pushing the rights of women in a more aggressive matter.
Lastly, propaganda is used in the Pro-life stance through similar techniques of gaining sympathy for the babies in the womb and pushing their agenda through the media. Propaganda may be effective in getting support for one’s ideas, but people should be aware when they are getting force fed information. Propaganda creates awareness for the issue, but people should be free to make their own opinion.