Project proposal: Abortion protests and the Occupy movement

Abstract: News discourse concerning issues such as abortion and the Occupy Movement is carefully constructed by those who report on it. What is classified as newsworthy can be influenced by politics and interest groups trying to amplify their viewpoint by getting it across to people by any means necessary. Sometimes, such actions result in lawsuits, which are often reported on by the media. These lawsuits often contain similar arguments, and can often simply be used as tools to garner support for one cause or another. This paper will analyze different court cases and their relationships to the abortion and occupy movements and the effect they have on public opinion.

Research Question: The Abortion (both anti-and pro) and Occupy movements both rely heavily on public support. The framing done by different organizations in order to sway people to their side can be heavily influenced by what is reported on in the media, and because of this, lawsuits are often filed in order to gain an edge against the opposition. I plan to research how lawsuits are used in this way, with my main question being: How are lawsuits used to change the way movements are framed?

Cases: The events I am specifically looking at, are lawsuits taken against or by the two movements described. Most lawsuits deal with freedom of speech and the movement’s right to gather in a particular area. Some examples of the cases I will be looking at are: Occupy Minneapolis, et al., Plaintiffs,
County of Hennepin, et al., Defendants, NORTHEAST WOMEN’S CENTER, INC., Appellant in No. 88-1268 vs. [anti-abortion activists], EUGENE DAVIDOVICH, an individual; DAVINA LYNCH, an individual; and JOHN KENNEY, an individual, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendant. The comparisons are valid since they deal with the movements trying to organize and mobilize only to come across obstacles set forth by opponents.

Research  Methods: I would like to use a wide range of methods. A general survey about public opinion on abortion and the occupy movement and how it relates to what the surveyee has seen on the news and in other media outlets would be a great starting point. I would also like to interview someone from an active Occupier, a Planned Parenthood rep, and also from a pro-life establishment, to discuss how they deal with negative and positive lawsuits and deal with what the news chooses to report. As we discussed in class, there are several frame analyses that exist on abortion already, so I will use the book “Shaping Abortion Discourse” and, specifically, the coding techniques and results they have in the book.

Tools: The tools I will use are the particular cases listed above, the skills learned in class about surveys and interviews, and numerous articles such as Framing Analysis: An Approach to News Discourse, and framing articles we’ve come across throughout the class.

Work plan:

March 14: Propose Final Project to class; receive feedback

15th– implement feedback and revise

21st– Have sample survey and/or interview questions ready

26-30- Conduct surveys and interviews over course of spring break; gather all literature; organize into table

April 4th– have rough-rough draft ready

April 11th– first draft of paper ready for critique

April-Mayish- Revise, revise, revise.

May 16th– Final draft




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