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Call for Deliberative Campus Forums on Abortion

We want to encourage our higher ed members to take notice of the announcement below from Dr. Robert Cavalier of the CMU Program for Deliberative Democracy, an NCDD member organization. The PDD has been testing and refining a set of resources for deliberative forums on abortion, and is inviting others to join them in hosting such forums on their respective campuses this Spring. You can learn more about the project in Robert’s announcement below or learn more about their resources here.

Announcement for Campus Conversations on the Issue of Abortion

Over the past several years the Program for Deliberative Democracy has been developing ways for citizens to have a civil and constructive conversation on the issue of abortion in America. We are pleased to say that we have put these materials online for use by campuses across the country. I am writing to you today because your organization has worked in the field of deliberative democracy and is well placed to announce this opportunity to your community.

Our materials dealing with the issue of abortion are designed to be used in a campus discussion that follows the general protocols of deliberation (well vetted background material, trained moderators, expert panels, and pre- and post-event surveys). As with our other materials (such as “Climate Change and the Campus”), the college discussions on abortion will also focus on specific campus issues i.e., reproductive services.

Please use the following announcement for dissemination purposes:

Beyond the Picket Lines: A Campus Conversation on the Issue of Abortion, Clinic Regulations and Campus Reproductive Resources

Forty years after the Supreme Court Decision on Roe v. Wade, the political debate over the issue of abortion continues. The most recent arguments before the Supreme Court, in the case of “Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Hellerstedt,” have provided yet another way to look at and to discuss the topic.

The Program for Deliberative Democracy is releasing materials that will enable campuses across the country to run their own versions of a Deliberative Forum. Guidelines materials for hosting these events are available at http://hss.cmu.edu/pdd/iaia. At the host sites, the sampled individuals will gather in small, moderated groups to discuss the topic. They’ll formulate questions to be asked during a plenary session with experts and then gather once again to respond to a post-survey.

The data drawn from these surveys will have ‘consulting power’ and could be used by stakeholders to influence concrete campus policy, including feedback on campus reproductive services.

Our experience in developing these kinds of events convinces us that we can not only address this issue in a civil and constructive manner, but that the very process of informed, well structured conversations itself demonstrates the advantages of a more deliberative, less divisive democracy.

In our beta tests over the past 2 years, the survey results on campus reproductive services policy have been found most useful. We hope that you will find a use for this important discussion on your campus this Fall or next Spring.

For further information and free consultation, please contact Dr. Robert Cavalier at rc2z@andrew.cmu.edu. Please join us in this important project.

More background on the project in the video below:

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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