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About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Members Free and Non-members $15

About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America

Carol Sanger

One of the most private decisions a woman can make, abortion is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Protested at rallies and politicized in party platforms, terminating pregnancy is often characterized as a selfish decision by women who put their own interests above those of the fetus. This background of stigma and hostility has stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, which in turn distorts public and political discussion. To pry open the silence surrounding this public issue, Sanger distinguishes between abortion privacy, a form of nondisclosure based on a woman’s desire to control personal information, and abortion secrecy, a woman’s defense against the many harms of disclosure.

Carol Sanger is the Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She teaches courses on contracts, family law, and others focusing on reproduction, the legal profession, and law and gender. Her recent scholarship, including her forthcoming book, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in the 21st Century, is centered on the regulation of abortion, the regulation of maternal conduct, surrogacy, and the law's relation to culture. In 2011, the Center for Reproductive Rights honored her with an Innovations in Scholarship Award, and, in 2013, she received the Green Bag Award for Exemplary Legal Writing for the article, “‘The Birth of Death’: Stillborn Birth Certificates and the Problem for Law,” 100 California Law Review 269, 2012. Sanger has a JD from the University of Michigan and a BA from Wellesley College.

Debate about control of women’s fertility entered the public spehere long before our time. Consider Marie Fisher’s pamphlet titled Ought Women to be Punished for Having too many Children?, published in London in 1890, or Leon F. Whitney’s 1934 eugenics book The Case for Sterilization.

This event is part of “The Culture of American Womanhood,” a four-part series investigating multiple facets of the experience of womanhood in our own time and probing questions of women’s roles in contemporary American society and culture. Join us for the other events in the series:

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America Act
Book talk with editors Kate Harding and Samhita Mukhopadhyay, moderated by Jaclyn Friedman
6-7 pm on October 18, 2017

Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
Book talk with New York Times bestselling author Liza Mundy
12-1 pm on November 7, 2017

Naked Among the Karma Eaters: The Body Politics of Women’s Lands
Lecture with cultural anthropologist and Harvard University Lecturer Keridwen N. Luis
12-1 pm on December 5, 2017

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