Reforms that fall significantly short of a movement’s ultimate aims may move society closer to those aims but they may instead prove counter-productive, because they may signal to the public that, as reformed but not eradicated, the challenged practices are acceptable. We lack sufficient empirical information to reach a definitive conclusion about which is more likely with respect to abortion and animal rights, but there are reasons to think that meliorism is likely to be more effective for the pro-life movement than for the animal rights movement.
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