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The impact of law on women is focus of Cornell Law School conference April 4-6

Issues of reproductive rights and violence against women take the spotlight in a national conference, "Bodies, Boundaries and Beyond: The Impact of the Law on Women," to be held April 4 through 6 at the Cornell University Law School.

"This conference recognizes the differential impact of various laws on the bodies of women of color, women of various classes and lesbian and bisexual women," said conference organizer Kelly Corbett, a Cornell law student. "Perhaps most importantly, this conference provides hope through a recognition of the proactive work that certain feminist and activist organizations are pursuing."

The first presentation, at 7:15 p.m. on April 4 in the Big Red Barn on the Cornell campus, will be:

  • "One Size Does Not Fit All: Altering Our Notions of Gender, Class and Sexuality." Panelists are Sandra Bem, Cornell professor of psychology and women's studies and author of The Lenses of Gender, which was named the 1993 best book in psychology by the Association of American Publishers; Cathy Powell, staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund/Black Women's Employment Project; Anna Marie Smith, Cornell assistant professor of government; and Peggie Smith, former editor in chief of the Harvard Women's Law Journal.

Panels scheduled for Saturday, April 5, which will be held in the MacDonald Moot Court Room of Cornell's Myron Taylor Hall, are:

  • "Whose Body Is It Anyway" at 9 a.m. Panelists are Catherine Albisa of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy; Leslye Obiora, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Law; and Anika Rahman of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy.
  • "Killing Me (not so) Softly: Violence Against Women, Reclaiming Our Bodies" at 1:30 p.m. Panelists are Kathryn Abrams, professor at the Northwestern University College of Law; Pat Eng, founder and executive director of the New York Asian Women's Center; and Cat Tague, education director of Ithaca Rape Crisis.

At 4 p.m. on April 5, the keynote address, "Suns and Moons and Heavenly Bodies: The Violence of Conformity," will be delivered by Sharon Rush, professor at the University of Florida Law School. An award-winning teacher, Rush, who earned her J.D. from Cornell Law School, is author of the forthcoming book Positively Color Conscious: Reflections on Race by a White Mother and Her Black Little Girl.

A roundtable discussion at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 6, will close the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the Cornell Law School; Russell K. Osgood, the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School; Associate Dean Anne Lukingbeal; the Cornell Law Student Association; Lambda Law Students; the Cornell Women's Law Coalition; the Cornell Department of Women's Studies; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Resource Office; Women's Bar Association of New York; and WestLaw Bar Review.

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