Iowa City, IA

League Lecture on March 23 – Abortion History Matters

Linda Schreiber
The public is invited to attend "Abortion History Matters" on Thursday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Iowa City Public Library.Photo byLeague of Women Voters of Johnson County

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 is joined by Lina-Maria Murillo, University of Iowa Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, History and Latina/o/x Studies assistant professor, who will present information about the history of abortion access in Iowa.

An in-person program will be held Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the Iowa City Public Library in Meeting Room A. The presentation is hosted by the League of Women Voters of Johnson County (LWVJC) and co-sponsored by The Gazette and the Iowa City Public Library. The presentation is offered in person and streamed live on the library's channel. Library staff will also record the program for rebroadcast on the ICPL YouTube channel.

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 New York (2008). She also served as chair of the Women's Studies Program and the History Department and was interim Dean of Humanities.

Murillo is completing her first book, Fighting for Control: Power, Reproductive Care, and Race in the 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 Washington Post, Rewire 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 of the Maternal Health and Reproductive Politics Obermann collaborative at the UI.

The League of Women Voters of Johnson County is a nonpartisan political organization founded in 1920 and dedicated to an informed electorate through advocacy and community events. The local League is a member of the National League of Women Voters, consisting of 50 state Leagues and 803 local chapters, and a member of the Iowa League of Women Voters. In 2020-2021, the League commemorated the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the founding of the League.

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A native Iowan who previously worked as an administrator, journalist and editor. She is the author of “Before 52340: A Place in Time.” Now retired, Linda spends her time writing, gardening and volunteering to assist nonprofit organizations.

Johnson County, IA

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