WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 26, 2015—Sara Dubow, associate professor of history, will present the fourth lecture in Williams College’s annual Faculty Lecture Series on Thursday, March 5. The talk, titled “‘A Constitutional Right Rendered Utterly Meaningless’: Religious Exemptions and Reproductive Politics, 1973-2014,” will take place at 4:15 p.m. in Wege Auditorium, Thompson Chemistry. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in Schow Atrium.
In 1973, months after the Roe v. Wade decision, the Senate passed by a vote of 92-1 the Church Amendment, the first federal law allowing medical providers and institutions receiving public funding to refuse to provide or perform abortions or sterilizations for reasons of religious belief or moral conviction. Since the passage of that first conscience clause, Congress has debated the scope of abortion-related conscience clauses in 1988, 1996, 2005, and 2012. In her talk, Dubow examines the evolution of these debates, each of which became increasingly contentious and polarized. She will discuss the changing role of interest groups and social movements; chart the changing relationship between abortion politics and party politics; and assess the impact on women’s access to abortion.
Dubow teaches courses in recent U.S. history, the history of gender and sexuality, and legal history. She is the author of Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2010 and won the 2011 Bancroft Prize. She was the recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship in 2013, and a visiting researcher at Yale Law School in 2013-2014. She holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history and women’s and gender history from Rutgers University.
The Faculty Lecture Series continues on March 12 with associate professor of mathematics Mihai Stoiciu and his lecture, “Multidimensional Spaces and Their Mathematics: Matrices, Operators, and Eigenvalues.”