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Sexuality Research & Social Policy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 67–92 | Cite as

The religious right and the reshaping of sexual policy: An examination of reproductive rights and sexuality education

Policy Articles

Abstract

This article chronicles the impact on sexuality policy in the United States of the rise of the Religious Right as a significant force in American politics. Using a case study analysis of abortion-reproductive rights and sexuality education, it narrates the story of how U.S. policy debates and practices have changed since the 1970s as sexual conservatism rose in prominence and sexual progressives declined in power. The Religious Right’s appeal to traditional moral values and its ability to create moral panics about sexuality are addressed, specifically with regard to abortion and sexuality education. Ultimately, political meddling and moral proscriptions, disregard for scientific evidence, and the absence of a coherent approach regarding sexual and reproductive health rights have undermined sexuality policy in the United States. The article ends on a cautious note of optimism, suggesting that the Religious Right may have overreached in its attempt to control sexuality policy.

Key words

sexual conservatism moral panic policy debates controversy abortion 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociomedical SciencesColumbia UniversityNew York
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, DavisDavis

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