Event Summary: Speak Out About Abortion Week

The week of November 14, WGH co-hosted Speak Out About Abortion Week, which was a series of events related to abortion and reproductive rights. Of particular interest was the input from groups whose voices are typically not represented in pro-choice public discourse: such as men, minorities, and people of faith. The first event of the week, “Bro Choice,” was a round-table discussion in which a group of 30-35 men discussed what it means to them to be pro-choice, and how their differing philosophies on reproductive rights (for example, from a libertarian vantage point or from a women’s rights vantage point) could affect policy and health care.  An evening panel discussion addressed the topic of women of color and the pro-choice movement, emphasizing the roles and opportunities available to them in the abortion dialogue. A lunch discussion on sharing abortion stories emphasized discussion of first-hand experiences, and sharing of these stories was encouraged throughout the week. On Wednesday, there was a screening of the HBO documentary “12th and Delaware”.  The film documented the struggle between two clinics on opposite sides of the street, an abortion clinic and a crisis pregnancy center (CPC).  The documentary focused on the strategies that the CPC’s use to get women into their services instead of going to the abortion clinic.  After the film, there was a brief discussion of the film.  A woman from NARAL then spoke about their recent release of a report on the CPC’s in Massachusetts.  Women went undercover and attempted to get services from the CPC’s.  The report describes the visit and false information that was given to them during each visit.  The report can be found on NARAL’s website. The final event was a panel discussion featuring a variety of different religious representatives—including a Protestant reverend, Catholic priest, rabbi, and professor of Catholicism—discussing how their religions allowed for pro-choice interpretation of different sacred texts, the evolution of the pro-choice movement within different religious groups, and how to use religion to guarantee freedom of choice.  All events were held at Harvard Law School and each had large student turnout, with lively, open discussions. The events were co-sponsored by Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the Journal of Law and Gender, the Harvard Law School Society for the Separation of Church and State, the Women’s Law Association, Group of Reproductive Health and Rights, Harvard Center for Development and Population Studies, and the Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy Fund.