This January marks what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that was recently repealed. Leading legal historian Mary Ziegler argues that Roeâ€”the decision, its history, and its fallâ€”have repercussions far beyond abortion rights. In her new book Roe: The History of a National Obsession (out now!), she explains how its ripple effects help us understand so much of our social and political landscape: from racial justice to political polarization to our constitutional rights.
As one of our foremost authorities on the Constitution and our reproductive rights, Mary argues that the effects of Roe v. Wade donâ€™t just end at the abortion debate. Instead, Roe has taken on meanings far beyond its original purpose. Its repercussions have affected us all, in many different areas of our livesâ€”from womenâ€™s rights to shifting political lines, and from LGBTQ+ issues to the place of religion in America. Understanding Roeâ€™s effects helps us understand our current political climate and polarization, which equips us to fight to maintain our democracy and protect our rights. â€œThis isnâ€™t a womenâ€™s issue,â€ Mary says. â€œItâ€™s a democracy issue.â€
Mary is the author of six critically acclaimed books on the law, history, and politics of reproduction and healthcare. Sheâ€™s widely recognized as one of our best nonpartisan experts on the legal history of Roe v. Wade and how that decision has affected many other areas of our lives. She is also the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis.
Watch this exclusive Lavin interview where Mary explains how Roe is helping people come together across dividing lines to fight polarization: