During the summer before my junior year at The George Washington University, I interned at the U.S. House of Representatives. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, as it allowed me to develop a much deeper knowledge of the American political system and to enhance my understanding of the politics surrounding several varied issue areas—from Medicare to environmental policy, from transportation to financial services. While I enjoyed cultivating this broad knowledge of policy areas, I eventually came to realize that one area held particular interest for me.
One day, I was assigned to cover a briefing regarding an amendment that would essentially prohibit medical schools from including abortion training in their curriculums for students studying to be gynecologists and obstetricians. The panelists at the briefing detailed the potentially disastrous repercussions of this amendment, including the possibility that a doctor might be unable to assist a woman in danger due to a miscarriage. I found myself wondering about the legislator that proposed this amendment: how would she, as a woman, respond to these arguments against her proposal? How would she articulate her defense of it? Would it be easier for a man? How might his approach be different?
This experience inspired my research question: what are the differences between the manners in which congressmen and congresswomen in the 112th Congress have communicated about abortion? I seek to discover whether there has been a “typical” way for men in this Congress to communicate about abortion or for women in this Congress to communicate about abortion.
While the driving force behind my selection of this question was my curiosity, I strongly feel that it is crucial for Americans to understand as much as possible about their political leaders’ communications on this subject. Abortion is an issue that many Americans feel passionately about. As such, they might be particularly attuned to politicians’ communications on this subject. I think that Americans ought to understand as much about these communications as they possibly can, so that they might draw sound conclusions based on them. While I am excited to satisfy my curiosity about this question through my research, I also hope that I can make some contribution to this understanding that I consider so crucial.