By Femi Matti
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College will be holding a lecture titled “Reproductive Rights: The Origins and Evolution of Restrictions on Abortion and Contraception in America” on April 27 at 7 p.m., presented by CCC’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility.

The lecture will be given by Associate Professor of Political Science at Stockton College of New Jersey Linda Warton. The lecture is a part of a seven-part tuition-free series called “Sex and Society in America.”

The lecture will aim to trace the historical development of legal restrictions on women’s access to abortion and birth control in America. “It’s an issue that has been in the forefront of our society,” says John L Pesda, Ph.D., professor of history and the director of the Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility.

In addition, the lecture will aim to describe the origins and public health effect of laws banning abortion and contraception, tracing the evolution of the Supreme Court’s extension of constitutional protection for reproductive rights and highlighting current barriers to women’s access to abortion and contraception.

“I’m hopeful that we will attract people from both sides of the issue, there are those who favor choice and those who favor life. It’s a very important issue in our society. It’s tied into politics and it’s tied into the cultural wars that we have in American society. So that’s basically the reason why I wanted to include it in the larger ‘Sex and Society in America,’ ” says Pesda.

“It’s great that we’re talking about this. Issues like this need to be in the forefront of our political and social discourse in America. I’m also proud that my community college is holding this forum for debate,” says second-year CCC student Alexandra Pajil.

In 1973 a controversial and landmark decision made by the Supreme Court, Roe vs. Wade, gave women the choice to have abortions under their rights to privacy through the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution. This monumental decision has sparked heated and sometimes violent debates causing two sides to this issue, pro life or pro choice. In the last 10 years or so state legislatures have taken matters into their own hands and have made it increasingly difficult for women to carry out abortions.

Barbara Palmer, Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility coordinator, and John Pesda, center director, work in the center’s facilities in Blackwood. By Femi Matti, CCC Journalism Program

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