Days after the inauguration, the Trump administration announced that American aid money would stop flowing to foreign nonprofits working on abortion. This action illustrates America's long-standing moral and legal tensions related to sex. Throughout American history, conflicts over such issues as the legal regulation of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and pornography have divided our nation and led to fundamental debates about the meaning of our Constitution. How did sex become so intertwined with religion and law when the Founding Fathers embraced Enlightenment attitudes grounded in reason, individual freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and the separation of church and state? What can the epic story of sex and the Constitution teach us about how to navigate these controversial issues both in our own nation and in our approach to such questions globally?
Geoffrey R. Stone’s new book, Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the 21st Century, will be available for purchase and signing from the Book Cellar after the program.