Leigh Ann Wheeler is a professor of history at Binghamton University, State University of New York, where she teaches modern U.S. history, including specific courses on women, sexuality, sex and law, civil liberties, and social movements. She is the author of How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (2014) and Against Obscenity: Reform and the Politics of Womanhood in America, 1873–1935 (2004). A former coeditor of the Journal of Women's History, she currently serves as a senior editor for Oxford University Press's Research Encyclopedia of American History. Her current project is a biography of Anne Moody, author of the unforgettable memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968).
This lecture examines debates over public funding for birth control and abortion after the Supreme Court cases that overturned many laws against both on grounds of privacy. It raises questions about how grounding reproductive freedom in the right to privacy helped to make public funding one of the first arenas of conflict.