Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Russell Library to host program focused on anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision

Athens, Ga. – Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the ongoing debate surrounding it will be subject of a discussion hosted by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m. in Room 285 of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

On Jan. 22, 1973 a 7-2 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Roe v. Wade, and struck down a Texas law criminalizing abortion. The majority opinion asserted that the Texas law violated a woman’s right to privacy under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution-and the claim sparked debates on religion and morality and divided the country into pro-life and pro-choice factions.

“In putting together our Now and Then: 1973 exhibit I came across a study published by the Pew Research Center reporting that only about 6 in 10 Americans know that the Roe v. Wade decision dealt with the issue of abortion,” said Jan Levinson, an outreach archivist at the Russell Library. “That percentage gets even smaller for those under the age of 30; just 44 percent know what the case was about. It seemed like this was a topic that we needed to tackle here on campus.”

In collaboration with two professors at the UGA School of Law, Randy Beck and Lori Ringhand, the Russell Library staff has created a program that will provide both short presentations on the topic at hand as well as time for attendees to talk through the issues. Trained moderators from the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, an outreach initiative dedicated to strengthening civic engagement and public discourse in Georgia, will be on hand to help facilitate these conversations alongside Beck and Ringhand.

“We’d like to have students, staff, faculty and community members at this event to create a rich discussion environment informed with a variety of perspectives,” said Levinson.

This event is one in a series of three to be hosted by the Russell Library this October, all inspired by the ongoing exhibit “Now and Then: 1973,” currently on display in the Russell Library Gallery. The series, titled “It Was a Big Year,” asks attendees to consider how a few key events in a single year changed the culture and course of a nation for years to come, Levinson said.

For more information on this or other events in the It Was a Big Year series, see, email, or call 706-542-5788.
To learn more about the Russell Library, see