Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weekend Class: The Politics and Policy of Reproductive Rights

On October 20th and 21th the Women and Politics Institute held its weekend class, The Politics and Policy of Reproductive Rights, led by WPI director, Dr. Karen O'Connor. The weekend was jammed packed with lectures, movies and expert speakers in the area of reproductive rights and successfully highlighted both sides of the issue. Dr. O'Connor spoke to the class about the history of women's struggle for reproductive rights, the timeline of decisions from the Supreme Court over the issue and the latest legislative measures concerning "partial birth abortion".

Joe Landrum of the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, Reverand Patrick Mahoney, and Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council spoke about the major themes of the pro-life movement and the future of the movement. Susan Turnbull, Vice Chair of the DNC, Jessica Waters of WilmerHale and Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice, presented the arguments on the pro-choice side. In particular, Jessica Waters and Nan Aron emphasized concerns about the recent shift in the Supreme Court and the possible threat to Roe.

The weekend was absolutely a success with interesting, rich conversation from both sides of the abortion debate. Students from the class came away with a broader understanding of the complexities of the issue and sensitivity to both sides of the debate.