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Reproductive Rights Panel Educates Voters

Reproductive Rights Panel

In celebration of Women’s HERstory Month, the Office of Civic and Community Engagement collaborated with the Andrew Goodman Foundation to host a Reproductive Rights, Value and Voting educational panel, a discussion on related history, crucial issues, and impacts on upcoming elections.

This year’s panelists included University of La Verne President Pardis Mahdavi, Department of Legal Studies Chair Carolyn Bekhor, Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies Chair Judy Holiday, and Anthropology and Global Studies Department Chair Melissa King.

President Mahdavi, kicked off the conversation and spoke about her field research on women, human rights, and human trafficking impacted her work. She shared her belief that reproductive rights are an essential part of the human rights discourse. According to Mahdavi, separating reproductive rights from the human rights discourse reduces the importance and severity of overturning Roe v. Wade and reducing access to abortion services.

The conversation then shifted gears to focus on the ways that restricted access to reproductive rights manifest in the United States. According to Bekhor, the effects of revoking the right to legal abortions in several states will inevitably have consequences that are felt nationwide.

“There’s a real risk of a federal abortion ban,” Bekhor said. In her opinion, overturning the Roe v. Wade decision can result in bans on contraceptives like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control pills. Bekhor shared that some states are proposing new laws that would criminalize any abortion methods with consequences as severe as the death penalty.

“We cannot necessarily rely on the laws protecting us,” Bekhor said.

Panelists agreed that voting is a crucial form of advocacy that is not to be taken for granted and that open-dialogue panels like these are useful to new voters on college campuses. They concluded by turning to the audience to answer any questions. Engaged students and faculty asked a myriad of questions ranging from communities hit the hardest by abortion bans to how students can get access to more information.

The University of La Verne’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement will be a voting site for registered voters of Los Angeles County. The panel discussion is just one of many events put on to encourage and educate the campus on important issues and how they might shape who they vote for in the November 2024 Presidential Election.