Fifty years have passed since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, famously declared a Constitutional “right to privacy.” This case led to other famous Supreme Court decisions, like the turning of Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion.
On Friday, March 4th, Regent University School of Law’s (LAW) Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law held its 5th annual symposium titled, “Women’s Rights 50 Years afterGriswold v. Connecticut.”
The symposium provided a series of forums that explored the rights of women living in the United States and women living in other areas of the world. The event opened with a panel discussion titled, “Women’s Rights at Home,” moderated by assistant LAW professor, Tessa Dysart.
Panelists Stephen Casey, president and senior counsel at Casey Law Office, P.C. and co-founder of Texas Center for Defense of Life; Teresa Stanton Collett, professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law; and Vivian Hamilton, professor of Law at William and Mary Law School, discussed the current climate of women’s rights in the United States.
The second panel was moderated by LAW professor Jeffrey Brauch, and explored women’s rights in the international context. The panel featured experts such as Azizah Y. al-Hibri, professor emerita of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, and founder and chair of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; Isaac Kfir, visiting professor of International Affairs & Law at Syracuse University College of Law; Christine Venter, director of Legal Writing Program at Notre Dame Law School; and Tiffany Barrans ’09 (LAW), former International Legal Director at the American Center for Law and Justice.
In her career, Barrans has represented before the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament. She spoke of a trip she took to Iraq, a nation with a prescribed “traditional and honor-driven society.”
Barrans explained that a certain religious group, the Yazidi, value purity in women insofar as to participate in “honor killings” if a woman’s honor is besmirched or worse, taken from her.
Barrans explained the “top down” approach to reforming rights in nations abroad. She said that many times the line between “religion” and “culture” is blurred. Within the Yazidi tribe, the spiritual leader sought a doctoral change that allowed women to reintegrate into their society.
“Now women have a chance to be ‘clean’ again,” said Barrans. “And though the work isn’t finished, the local leadership is stepping up.”
Following the series of discussions, The Honorable Marla Graff Decker from the Court of Appeals of Virginia spoke on women’s rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The symposium concluded with an evening benefit banquet at the Founders Inn and Spa titled, “Justice for the Unborn.” The dinner featured a former director of Planned Parenthood turned pro-life advocate, Abby Johnson.
Learn more about Regent University’s School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.