The Lie that Binds: The Untold History of the Anti-Choice Movement

Here’s the truth — The overwhelming majority of the country is with us in wanting legal access to abortion. But you wouldn’t know it looking at the state of reproductive freedom today.

Understanding that reality and how it came to be requires understanding and reframing the history of the anti-choice movement. For decades, right-wing extremists have deliberately weaponized the question of abortion rights as a central part of their strategy to maintain control and privilege in our country. They were reliant on an ability to foment pervasive racism and misogyny, and above all, our silence.

If we are to prevail both in the upcoming election — the most pivotal election of our lives — and securing and advancing reproductive rights, we have to start by exposing how the other side has used the issue of abortion as a dogwhistle to their base and to silence too many Americans in the debate about social progress.

That’s why NARAL President Ilyse Hogue and Opposition Research Director Ellie Langford joined forces to write The Lie that Binds.

The Lie that Binds is a deeply researched look into the faux morality peddled by the anti-choice movement, exposes their true ambitions, and outlines exactly how to dismantle their power. This long ignored history recounts how the formerly non-partisan issue of abortion rights was appropriated by a group of Radical Right leaders determined to maintain white, patriarchal control in a changing world. A movement constructed around a lie — fictional moral convictions about individual pregnancies. In reality, their true motivations are much more nefarious.

When Ilyse and Ellie first sat down to write this book over a year ago, COVID-19 didn’t even exist yet. But as more and more anti-choice lawmakers attempt to exploit this crisis to ban abortion, it’s become clear that debunking their lies is more crucial than ever.

The moment we are in has revealed how badly we as a nation need to see and understand the historic and present day anti-choice movement precisely for what it is:

  • A vocal, well-funded minority of people with an outsized influence on our political system
  • A closely knit group of extremists conducting a coordinated, insidious disinformation campaign to not just restrict reproductive freedom but move an entirely anti-democratic agenda
  • A movement with a deep history rooted in racism and misogyny that will stop at nothing to maintain their political power
  • Virtually indistinguishable from the broader Radical Right and modern day forces that elected and prop up Donald Trump

Just as they were in the sixties and seventies, the movement architects are threatened by societal progress and calls for equality and justice from Black leaders, women leaders, LQBTQ leaders. Just as they did then, they work to spread disinformation, pit factions against each other, and stoke fear, racism, and misogyny to maintain their fragile grip on power.

But together, we can stop them. We must refuse to cede the moral mantle and arm ourselves with knowledge that the anti-choice movement has hid from Americans for decades — their true motivations. We must see the anti-choice movement for what they really are. If all 77% of the Americans who support legal abortion were capable of seeing and combating anti-choice disinformation, we could use 2020 to finally stop their assaults on abortion rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, human rights, and our democracy itself.

Buying and reading this book is an act of resistance, but also an act of promise. At the end of the day, The Lie that Binds tells a story of hope: how we can work together to make this country a better place — a place where freedom is truly for every body, everywhere.

Get The Lie that Binds to learn the untold history of the anti-choice movement and find out how we can fight back together.