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Kathryn Kolbert, an attorney widely credited with preserving the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, will visit Lafayette for a discussion time and the keynote speech for Women’s History Month today.

Kolbert will participate in informal conversation 4:10-5 p.m. in Interfaith Chapel of Hogg Hall. She also will give a talk on “Reproductive Rights and the Law” 7:30 p.m. in room 104 of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Free and open to the public, the events are part of Lafayette’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

Active in the movement to protect abortion rights for nearly 20 years, Kolbert repeatedly has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” and named by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.”

Kolbert is an expert in legal, legislative, and policy issues concerning abortion rights and women’s reproductive health. Frequently credited by commentators as having kept Roe v. Wade from being overturned in 1992, she made her second appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in arguing and partially winning Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a challenge to Pennsylvania’s abortion restrictions. Kolbert has participated on the legal team of nearly every abortion case in the High Court in the last ten years.

In July 1998, Kolbert joined the Annenberg Public Policy Center at University of Pennsylvania as a senior research administrator. From there she launched a new radio series, Justice Talking, that explores constitutional issues such free speech, religious liberty, racial equality, and personal privacy. In addition, Kolbert has received an Individual Project Fellowship from Open Society Institute to study legal and public policy strategies to increase access to contraception for teenagers.

From 1992 until November 1997, Kolbert served as vice president and co-founder of Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York, where she directed its extensive domestic litigation and public policy programs. Prior to founding the center, Kolbert served as the state coordinating counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, where she was responsible for assisting the ACLU state affiliates and other pro-choice groups in their legislative battles over abortion rights. In 1979 and 1988, as an attorney for the Women’s Law Project, Kolbert litigated major challenges to abortion laws in Pennsylvania, including Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the 1986 Supreme Court case that reaffirmed Roe. In 1984, Kolbert co-founded and served as the first director of Women’s Agenda, a Pennsylvania-wide advocacy organization for women and children.

A graduate of Temple University School of Law and Cornell University School of Arts and Sciences, Kolbert has been a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School, Penn’s Department of Women’s Studies, and Swarthmore College. She has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and has been a frequent commentator on women’s rights issues in the national media, including appearances on 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC Nightly News, Good Morning America, All Things Considered, and Firing Line, and in a wide range of newspapers and magazines.

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