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Rachel VanSickle-Ward and Kevin Wallsten

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

In this episode, Jeff speaks with Rachel VanSickle-Ward and Kevin Wallsten. In The Politics of the Pill, the two authors explore how gender has shaped contemporary debates over contraception policy in the U.S.

Within historical context, they examine the impact that women and perceptions of gender roles had on media coverage, public opinion, policy formation, and legal interpretations from the deliberation of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 to the more recent Supreme Court rulings in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Zubic v. Burwell.

Their central argument is that representation matters: who had a voice significantly impacted policy attitudes, deliberation and outcomes. While women’s participation in the debate over birth control was limited by a lack of gender parity across institutions, women nevertheless shaped policy making on birth control in myriad and interconnected ways.

Combining detailed analyses of media coverage and legislative records with data from public opinion surveys, survey experiments, elite interviews, and congressional testimony, The Politics of the Pill tells a broader story of how gender matters in American politics.

Bedrosian Center