Programs mark Roe v. Wade 40th anniversary
Public Relations - Published: January 22, 2013
RoeAfter40LargeWidener Law will take part in a year-long regional series that investigates the impact of the Roe v. Wade decision on the law and on the reproductive health of men and women over the last 40 years. The law school is hosting a website that serves as an information clearinghouse for the series, which will move largely among area law schools.

“Roe After 40” will kick off Jan. 24 with a 5:30 p.m. event at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, LLP in Philadelphia. Sponsored by the Women’s Medical Fund and Women’s Law Project, the event will examine the legal landscape for abortion providers.

From there, the series will move to Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law in February, the University of Pennsylvania Law School on March 27 and Widener Law in Wilmington, Del. on April 25. Additional events are planned for the fall 2013 semester, with programs at Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law and Rutgers Law in Camden, N.J.

Some of the institutions will present panel discussions on a facet of the decision and its implications for reproductive and other rights. The event at Widener Law will look at public health dimensions of Roe v. Wade in both the private health care and institutional settings, such as federal prisons and the military.

The collaborative series is the brainchild of Widener Law Professor John G. Culhane, who directs the school’s Health Law Institute. Professor Erin Daly has joined him in the planning, and the two hope the series will provide a thoughtful evaluation of the law and its impact in the United States.

“Roe v. Wade is one of the most important cases to come out of the Supreme Court in the last 50 years,” said Daly, who serves as Widener’s H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law. “Every Supreme Court nominee is vetted on the issue by the White House and then by the Senate. For decades there has been an effort to overturn it. The interesting thing about Roe is that while it has been severely limited by subsequent Supreme Court decisions, it has never been formally overruled, and its impact on the culture and in other areas of the law continues to be felt.”

“This is an exciting series of events because it gives us the opportunity to really understand what Roe’s impact has been even beyond the specific question of abortion,” Daly said.

“This Supreme Court decision has had a profound effect on public health and medical services that are delivered from the biggest hospitals to the smallest community clinics. Challenges to laws that impact access to reproductive services in different ways – including clinic funding and parental notification requirements – will continue to elicit passionate discussion,” Culhane added. “I look forward to the opportunity this series provides for thoughtful, civil conversation and I am pleased to collaborate with our regional colleagues to expand its reach.”

Visit to learn more about the series. The site, hosted by Widener Law, includes an event calendar and location information.