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Making Connections:
Violence Against Women and Reproductive Justice

October 27, 2012

The denial of women's autonomy is the essence of violence against women.

–Irene Weiser, Stop Family Violence

This symposium brought together Smith College alumnae working in law and public policy to explore the connections between violence against women and reproductive justice in the United States today.

In 2011, state legislatures passed more restrictions on access to abortion than in any previous year and this trend continues. In 2012, Arizona banned abortion after 18 weeks; Virginia legislators proposed to require women seeking abortions to submit to physically invasive ultrasounds; Title X family planning funding is under attack; North Carolina legislators refused to compensate women whom the state had subjected to forced sterilization; and many states still shackle incarcerated women during childbirth.

Meanwhile, reports of rampant violence against women abound—sexual violence in the military and on college campuses, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, and the systemic violence of poverty and the prison industrial complex. Native American, immigrant and LGBT people experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault, yet Congress has delayed extending the protections of the Violence Against Women Act to cover these groups.

On the 35th anniversary of the death of Rosie Jimenez—the first woman to die as a result of the Hyde Amendment restricting public funding for abortion—this symposium brought together Smith alumnae working on violence against women and reproductive justice with longtime feminist activist Kim Gandy to discuss connections between interpersonal and systemic violence against women and increasing restrictions on women's reproductive lives.

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Welcome

Marilyn SchusterMarilyn Schuster, Provost, Smith College

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Introduction

Kim GandyKim Gandy, Executive Director, National Network to End Domestic Violence

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Morning Panel: Reproductive Justice and Bodily Autonomy

Candace GibsonCandace Gibson '07 Government/Spanish National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

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Sophie GodleySophie Godley '93 Women's Studies Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Health at Boston University School of Public Health

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Jessica LewisJessica Lewis '94 Women's Studies/Biology Deputy Director, Connecticut Women's Health Project, Yale School of Public Health

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Questions and discussion

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Afternoon Panel: Violence Against Women and Bodily Autonomy

Kate ConnellyKate Connelly '95, Government, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

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Alisa KleinAlisa Klein '91 Women's Studies, Alisa Klein Consulting

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Lisa Young LaranceLisa Young Larance '91 Women's Studies/History, Domestic Violence Intervention Services Coordinator, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Questions and discussion

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Questions and discussion (continued)

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Closing Remarks

Kim GandyKim Gandy, Executive Director, National Network to End Domestic Violence

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Support for the Symposium

This symposium was organized by Carrie Baker and sponsored by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, the Government Department, the Project on Women and Social Change, and the Five College Public Policy Initiative.