The U.S. Supreme Court said that its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade “called the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” But forty years on, the Court’s words look like wishful thinking. The legitimacy, reach, and meaning of Roe are profoundly contested and affect not only abortion rights but all reproductive rights, which seem more complex and fraught than ever.
Roe After 40 is a year-long investigation of Roe v. Wade’s impact on the law and the reproductive health of women and men over the last 40 years, ranging from the experiences of abortion providers, to questions about bioethics, public health, surrogacy, and broad perspectives of social justice. A joint project of five Philadelphia-area law schools [ All events listed here ], Roe After 40 considers how Roe has informed, inflamed, and confused the conversation about reproductive rights – far beyond its initial constitutional holding about the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. This project also looks ahead to see how Roe will drive public policy and dialogue as we move to the next forty years.
This symposium is a cooperative venture among the schools, each of which will host an event with a different but complementary focus. The “kick-off” event in January was a fund-raiser for the Women’s Medical Fund, focusing on the experiences of abortion providers. Events at Widener Law School, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Temple University’s Beasley School Law are slated for Spring 2013, and Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law and Rutgers School of Law-Camden will conclude the series in the Fall of 2013.
This site will be frequently updated with information on each of the events as speakers and further details are available.