Tanya Monthey | Women’s Health & The Law

Written by on November 28, 2016

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Extensive legislation in the United States restricts and/or regulates the labor, voting, and reproductive rights of women. In this episode, we discuss the history of women’s health legislation with an emphasis on abortion legislation. Oregon holds a unique place in this history.

Today, I interview second-year history graduate student Tanya Monthey. Tanya is studying modern American legal history and women’s history. In this podcast, she shares her background, current research, and research goals. Tanya’s research emphasizes the history of Oregon abortion legislation, but she shares insight into other legislation regulating women’s health. We also discuss some of the motivations behind legislation aimed at women.

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Ruth Barnett (1895-1969) performed over 40,000 abortions over several decades in Portland with no reported maternal deaths.

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Betty Cantrell Roberts (1923-2011) was the first woman to be an Oregon Supreme Court justice and the first woman on the Oregon Court of Appeals. She was also an alumna of Portland State University (class of 1958). As a state senator, Roberts sponsored legislation to decriminalize abortion in Oregon.

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Robert W. “Bob” Straub (1920-2002) served on the Oregon State Senate and as the 31st Governor of Oregon. As governor, Straub called a special session to allocate funds for low-income women to receive abortions following passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976.

Some sources:

The Fourteenth Amendment, National Archives

Bradwell v. The State (1872)

Bradwell v. Illinois (1873)

Muller v. Oregon (1908)

Linda Gordon, Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: Birth Control in America, Rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 1990).

Christin Hancock, “Regulating Birth: Locating Power at the Intersection of Private and Public in Oregon History,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 117, no. 2 (Summer 2016), http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/10.5403/oregonhistq.117.2.0122.

Michael Helquist, “‘Criminal Operations’: The First Fifty Years of Abortion Trials in Portland, Oregon,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 116, no. 1 (Spring 2015), http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/10.5403/oregonhistq.116.1.0006.

Tara Watson and Melody Rose, “She Flies With Her Own Wings: Women in the 1973 Oregon Legislative Session,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 111, no. 1 (Spring 2010), http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/10.5403/oregonhistq.111.1.0038.

Music featured in the episode:

“Alone in Kyoto” – Air

“The Chill Air” – Brian Eno and Harold Budd

“Q.U.E.E.N.” – Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu

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