Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Communication

Advisor

Corrigan, Lisa

Reader

Schulte, Stephanie

Second Reader

Sacharoff, Laurent

Abstract

This study advances a critical legal analysis using Kenneth Burke's pentad to provide a rhetorical history and political assessment of abortion clinic buffer zones. Using the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (1994), Hill v. Colorado (2000), and McCullen v. Coakley (2014), I offer an assessment of the politics of identification and location at play in both the majority opinion and dissent in each case. Although some communication scholarship, most notably Celeste Condit’s book Decoding Abortion Rhetoric (1990), has examined the political rhetoric of the abortion debates particularly in the 1980s, this groundbreaking study departs from the extant literature by moving from the executive analyses of buffer zones and towards an understanding of how judicial language has framed debate over clinic access, space, and emerging publics that are agitating around reproductive healthcare.

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