Abortion History Matters

March 23, 2023
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A

The Public Policy Center is proud to support this lecture hosted by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County (LWVJC).

Learn about abortion laws before and after the U.S. Constitution was adopted. Abortion history was the focus of the friend-of-the-court brief for "Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization" which struck down Roe v. Wade in June 2022. Co-author of the amicus curiae brief Patricia Cline Cohen, professor of history emerita at the University of California Santa Barbara, will review reproductive rights in a program titled Abortion History Matters. She will be joined by Lina-Maria Murillo, assistant professor of gender, women's, and sexuality studies, history, and Latina/o/x studies at the University of Iowa, who will present information about the history of abortion access in Iowa.

Cline Cohen reviewed the Supreme Court ruling in a Washington Post perspective. In 2021 and 2022, she co-authored a second friend-of-the-court brief for Planned Parenthood of Michigan v. Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. Cline Cohen's current research focuses on the history of 19th-century abortion. Her research and teaching interests span U.S. women's history, the history of sexuality, the history of journalism, and 19th-century health and sex reformers. Cline Cohen's book publications include A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy in Early America (1985), The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in Nineteenth-Century New York (1998), and (co-authored) The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s (2008). She has also served as chair of the Women's Studies Program and the History Department and was interim Dean of Humanities at UCSB.

Murillo is completing her first book, Fighting for Control: Power, Reproductive Care, and Race in U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. Her work is supported by several grants and fellowships, including from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the Ford Foundation. Her writing appears in the The Washington PostRewire News, and Notches. Her article, "Birth Control, Border Control: The Movement for Contraception in El Paso, Texas 1936-1940," appeared in the Pacific Historical Review in 2021. "Espanta Cigüeñas: Race and Abortion in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands" is forthcoming in Signs" A Journal of Women and Culture in Society. Murillo is also co-director with Professor Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz o fthe Maternal Health and Reproductive Politics Obermann collaborative at the UI.

This presentation is co-sponsored by The Gazette and the Iowa City Public Library. The presentation is offered in-person and will be streamed live on the library's channel. library staff will also record the program for rebroadcast on the ICPL YouTube channel.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Dragana Petic at dragana-petic@uiowa.edu.