Lehigh teachers emphasized the importance of understanding the implications of dumping Roe vs. Wade during a panel discussion titled “Life After Roe”.
The panel, which took place in Williams Hall on September 20, was made up of four university professors: Stephanie Prevost, visiting professor of law; Lloyd Steffen, professor of religious studies; Ziad Munson, professor and chair of the department of sociology and anthropology; and Mónica Najar, associate professor of history.
“I’m here to discuss the real-world implications for you as students entering the workforce,” Prevost said. “Shifting abortion policy to the states will have implications for all of you depending on where you end up working.”
The panel also featured Tanya Andino, ’23, who specializes in women’s studies, gender and sexuality, and political science.
To facilitate discussion, panel members invited students to ask questions. The most popular type of question concerned the specific changes that Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization will bring the decision.
Steffen said the 14th amendment has historically been used to expand freedoms, including same-sex marriage, abortion and the use of contraception.
“Since the time of the Civil War, we have been expanding freedom in the United States,” Steffen said. “dobbs It is the first time that we have made a retreat on that expansion of freedom.”
The panel explained the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization The decision opens the door for other rights, which were established in court using the 14th Amendment, to be struck down.
In addition to understanding the new law, Najar also drew attention to the concept of reproductive justice, which she defined as the idea of centering marginalized women in conversations about reproduction.
Andean said that dobbs The ruling will reveal new challenges to achieving reproductive justice, as the restrictions will disproportionately affect marginalized and minority women.
“It’s an intersectional approach to the idea of abortion,” Andino said. “Reproductive rights have a history of racism in that there has always been a threat to women of color and their reproductive autonomy.”
Another central question was what can students concerned about the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade.
Panelists suggested voting in the upcoming elections and being mindful of promoting reproductive justice.
Andino said students can do this by having difficult conversations with people who have different points of view and by being empathetic to other people and how their experiences have shaped their perspective.
Najar urged students to share their views on abortion in an effort to create a more open discussion about sexuality and bodily autonomy.
She said using this tactic with the same-sex marriage movement created a generation of people who brought change.
“That kind of success comes from people saying, ‘I have sex. I have the right to have sex. It doesn’t make me promiscuous. I don’t get dirty. I have a right to my body, and that means I need access to all kinds of medical care,’” Najar said.
Alex Tang, 25, said he felt more solidified in his position on abortion.
“If it wasn’t someone who was familiar with this topic, there was a lot to learn from this discussion,” Tang said. “If you were familiar, they went beyond the broad scope and talked about the history of abortion and the implications of this new decision.”
Faculty on the panel said that having discussions like this with students is essential to sparking change, because students are the next generation of leaders.
“I think as we model what a good civic and civil society looks like, we are up to the task of talking about things that are very important,” Najar said.