MSU Institute for the Humanities events will examine Texas, Mississippi reproductive rights cases on Nov. 9 and Nov. 17

Contact: John Burrow

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Two upcoming Mississippi State Institute for the Humanities Facebook live events will explore how the recently passed Texas law regarding abortion affects Mississippians and adds to the national discussion on reproductive rights.

Hosted live on MSU’s Institute for the Humanities Facebook page, “Reproductive Rights in the Age of COVID: what the Texas law means for Mississippi” takes place on Tuesday [Nov. 9] at 3:30 p.m.

A separate MSU Institute for the Humanities Facebook live event on Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m., “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: the Changing Social and Constitutional Landscape,” will invite a representative from the Mississippi Attorney General’s office and an independent academic legal analyst to discuss the upcoming case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Gender Studies Program and Institute for the Humanities, the Nov. 9 event features David Cohen, a reproductive rights attorney and professor of law at Drexel University, as well as Carole Joffe, a professor of sociology at the University of California San Francisco as they discuss the Texas SB 8 law and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Discussion will be led in the Nov. 9 event by Gender Studies Director Kimberly Kelly, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, and Julia Osman, director of the Institute for the Humanities and an MSU associate professor of history.

Kelly said both speakers have “several decades of practical and research experience” on the topic of abortion, healthcare and reproductive rights and their expertise will help highlight the current lawsuit in Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, regarding the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban.

“Unusually, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case,” said Kelly. “Many attorneys and academics, including myself, believe the Court is signaling a willingness to consider overturning Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the U.S. This event should help audiences make sense of the rapidly changing abortion landscape and the potential legal and social changes heading our way.”

“Dr. Joffe and Professor Cohen recently published a book, ‘Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America,’ (University of California Press, 2020) that covers the targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, financial and logistical hurdles, and stigma surrounding abortion,” said Kelly. “I assigned the book in my Sociology of Reproduction seminar and invited them to speak to the class virtually. It was such a success.”

For additional questions about the event, contact Osman at

The Institute for the Humanities promotes research, scholarship and creative performances in the humanistic disciplines and raises their visibility, both within MSU and the wider community. The institute’s activities include bringing prominent individuals in the humanities to the university campus, support for faculty research initiatives, and public outreach through scholarship and innovative teaching. 

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Monday, November 8, 2021 - 3:01 pm