Law School Hosts Symposium on Abortion

Law School Hosts Symposium on Abortion

Speakers mull social, health effects of post-Roe vs. Wade era

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

At a symposium hosted at Boston College Law School Jan. 25 in connection with the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women prominent in law, medicine and the humanities addressed what they described as the negative consequences to American women of three decades of abortion on demand.

BC Law School Dean John Garvey (left) speaks at a press conference held the day before the Jan. 26 symposium, "A Thirty Year Reflection." Also shown are Fran Hogan (center) and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, who along with other speakers offered their views on how abortion has affected the lives of women. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"A tidal wave of grief is building in our society, an ocean concealed by women at great personal expense," said one of the panelists, Dr. E. Joanne Angelo, professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical School, who said she has treated many women who have suffered depression and other forms of post-traumatic stress following abortions.

An estimated 40 million abortions have been performed in the United States since the Roe ruling protecting abortion rights was handed down by the Supreme Court. Speakers at the symposium said this freedom has come at great cost to women they said have been emotionally scarred by the procedure, as well as to a society they said has devalued nascent human life.

"I see this as a moment of grace," Angelo said at a BC Law press conference the day before the symposium. "Women who have had abortions are wounded healers who will help us learn the dignity and value of every human person."

Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Elizabeth Shadigian, of the University of Michigan School of Medicine, co-author of a University of North Carolina study published in this month's issue of the Obstetric & Gynecological Survey which reports long-term physical and psychological health consequences associated with abortion.

Other keynoters included Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, and historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Eleonor Professor of the Humanities at Emory University.

Invited panelists included attorney Paige Comstock Cunningham of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, co-founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, Elizabeth Schiltz, associate professor at University of St. Thomas School of Law, and attorney Erika Bachiochi, a former Bradley Fellow in theology at Boston College.

Co-sponsoring the event were the Women's Fund of Americans United for Life, Feminists for Life, and Women Affirming Life, whose president, Boston attorney Fran Hogan, took part in the accompanying press conference.


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