Tanya Monthey | Women’s Health & The Law

By Lyndsay Smith ::

Extensive legislation in the United States restricts and/or regulates the labor, voting, and reproductive rights of women. In this episode, we discuss the history of women’s health legislation with an emphasis on abortion legislation. Oregon holds a unique place in this history.

Today, I interview second-year history graduate student Tanya Monthey. Tanya is studying modern American legal history and women’s history.

In this podcast, she shares her background, current research, and research goals. Tanya’s research emphasizes the history of Oregon abortion legislation, but she shares insight into other legislation regulating women’s health.

We also discuss some of the motivations behind legislation aimed at women.


Ruth Barnett (1895-1969) performed over 40,000 abortions over several decades in Portland with no reported maternal deaths.


Betty Cantrell Roberts (1923-2011) was the first woman to be an Oregon Supreme Court justice and the first woman on the Oregon Court of Appeals. She was also an alumna of Portland State University (class of 1958). As a state senator, Roberts sponsored legislation to decriminalize abortion in Oregon.

Robert W. “Bob” Straub (1920-2002) served on the Oregon State Senate and as the 31st Governor of Oregon. As governor, Straub called a special session to allocate funds for low-income women to receive abortions following passage of the Hyde Amendment in 1976.


Music featured in the episode:

Alone in Kyoto” | Air

The Chill Air” | Brian Eno and Harold Budd

Q.U.E.E.N.” | Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu

Beyond Footnotes is a history-themed podcast on local KPSU, sponsored by Portland State University’s Department of History, and run by history graduate students, Lyndsay Smith, Evan Smiley and Jeffrey Stone. Beyond Footnotes features interviews with the talented faculty and students of PSU, providing a forum for local historians to share their work with each other and the community. The show was co-created and formerly hosted by Ryan Wisnor and Joshua Justice of Dive Audio and originally launched on October 9, 2015.