Abortion Laws & Research in the United States

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Abortion Laws & Research in the United States]

    • 00:11

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND: So at this conference,one of the great gifts you're givenif you're a criminologist is you get together with the bestminds, increasingly, around the globeon a particular issue that is timely and of concern to you.And you could be at the phase of presenting resultsfrom your study, you could be at the phaseof presenting a literature review of your study.

    • 00:34

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: But in our case, what we're looking at is,we're trying to edit a special issue of a journal thatlooks at, basically, the role of the statein policing girls and women's bodies.And in my case, the specific concern that I haveis that we have a country, that is the United States, whereat the turn of the century, basically

    • 00:55

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: 1/3 of the girls and young women who were looking for abortionservices would have a difficult time in their stateto get them.And now, how many years later 15 years later, over half,56% of the girls and women in Americaare living now in jurisdictions whereit's difficult to get abortion services.

    • 01:15

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: This is the recriminalization of abortionfrom a criminological standpoint.Our challenge is that our countrydoesn't count the denial of servicesas anything that's important to us.And so for criminologists, we look at thingslike, you see our crime statistics,and we make sense of violence against women kindof using those numbers.

    • 01:36

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: Well here, we have no numbers.We have no data.But we certainly can see patterns in jurisdictions.We can look at the effects of certain kinds of laws whichmake it harder and harder, particularlyfor low income girls and women, to get services.But again this is hypothetical, and so what we're now doingis trying to get the best criminological minds whoare concerned about these trends in a room

    • 01:57

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: together to say, how do we document this?And how do we powerfully document itas people who have a lot of different kinds of skillsin terms of collecting and analyzing data.So that we can get those numbers and those argumentsto the policymakers who are in a positionto help girls and women and to avoid further recriminalizationand denial of reproductive rights and health

    • 02:20

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: to people in our country?So that's what motivated me on the researchthat I'm beginning to start.But I also am working with an international scholar,Toni Mahati.And she and I are working on how the patterns wesee in the United States are really reflective of a largerglobal pattern, where girls and women have

    • 02:43

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: a terribly difficult time controlling their own bodiesand avoiding, in some cases and in some societies,being criminally prosecuted for attempting to seek servicesthat, even in our country, would still be legal,like contraceptive services or abortionwhen it's the result of incest or sexual assault.

    • 03:07

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: So we're trying to figure out what we can manageand how much work we can think about trying to do.And of course, the Supreme Court of the United Stateshas just said that they're going to take upa case looking at the patterns we're attempting to document.It's crazy to think we might be able to affect that decision,

    • 03:29

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: but it's not beyond the realm of possibility,just like in Brown v the Board of Education.These early studies that documentedthat separate but quote, unquote equal schoolsdid not deliver the same services.And maybe, if not our work, the work of somebody comingalong watching this video and helpingus kind of document what's happening around the country,

    • 03:52

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: will give us enough different kinds of dataso that we can, again, avoid the kinds of terrible tragediesI saw as a young woman, when abortion was illegal,and people died because--When abortion is illegal, it doesn't stop abortion.It simply makes it far more dangerousfor the girls that are seeking it.And in some cases, those dangers end in the girl dying.

    • 04:15

      MEDA CHESNEY-LIND [continued]: So it's very important that we do this and do it right.

Abortion Laws & Research in the United States

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Abstract

Professor Meda Chesney-Lind explains that the recriminalization of abortion is causing denials of service that traditional crime statistics do not track. She is working with other criminologists to find a way to document and track these trends.

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Abortion Laws & Research in the United States

Professor Meda Chesney-Lind explains that the recriminalization of abortion is causing denials of service that traditional crime statistics do not track. She is working with other criminologists to find a way to document and track these trends.

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