Submission Date

7-24-2015

Document Type

Paper

Department

Gender & Women’s Studies

Second Department

Politics

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Evans

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Women’s bodies have been legislated for years. Many people associate regulation beginning in 1973 when Roe V. Wade was decided, however legislation has affected women for much longer. These infringements on women’s rights create a major roadblock in gender equality. During summer fellows I researched how the law regulates aspects of American women's lives particularly in reproductive freedom (birth control, day-after pill, abortion, maternity discrimination). Conducting this research included thorough research of 48 pieces of congressional legislation from the 114th Congress that limit women's reproductive freedom through abortion bans, non-accessible health care, and cuts in federal spending towards Planned Parenthood. I also examined Supreme Court cases regarding reproductive freedom and studied the arguments on the constitutionality of abortion regulation. To conduct this research I also looked at many Supreme Court opinions on reproductive freedom, and found that many justices supported the infringement on women’s rights to their respective bodies by preventing women from having abortions or having access to contraceptives. I found that today, society has become progressive in accepting various groups of people, such as minorities and same-sex couples but doesn’t extend the same acceptance towards women’s reproductive rights, as shown by continued legal restrictions on women’s bodies. I argue that these regulations against women infringe on their ability to participate equally in society, limiting their rights as citizens.