As an assistant professor at Portland State, Melody Rose said she has encountered a startling number of students who are unfamiliar with abortion rights and where the government stands on the issue.
”I am always shocked by how little my college students know about the current status of abortion,” Rose said. “In the same classroom, I could have somebody say, ‘Isn’t abortion available on demand to everyone?’ and I’ve literally had people say, ‘Isn’t abortion illegal?'”
Rose’s recently published book, Safe, Legal, and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States, has been available in bookstores since September.
Rose said she wrote the book in part because of a perceived lack of understanding about the ways in which policies have increasingly stressed fetal rights over women’s health. The book examines the history of abortion as a “social regulatory policy” and asserts that throughout the history of abortion politics, women’s reproductive rights have increasingly taken a back seat to the rights of the fetus. The book also looks at how access to abortion has become less and less available through an increasing number of laws and policies.
Rose, an associate professor in political science at PSU, has only recently become a successful author, but her students say she has always been a successful instructor. Political science Professor Richard Clucas said Rose does a great job in getting students to understand politics and to think critically.
”She is engaging in the classroom and is considerate of her students,” Clucas said. “I have heard many students say she is among the very best instructors they have had at PSU.”
Rose, who received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, is the first person in her family to receive a college degree.
”I very much appreciate the first-generation college students that come to Portland State because I see a lot of myself in them,” Rose said. “And it is nice to have the opportunity to give back to first-generation college students what was given to me when I went to college.”
Former political science student Emily Jackson said that because Rose took time after class to talk with her, she is more confident in law school. “Without question, I regard Professor Rose as one of the best professors I had at PSU. She goes above and beyond. PSU would be different without her.”
Rose is also the program director for NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership Oregon held at PSU.
”I am very passionate about a program I run that trains young college women for careers in political and leadership positions,” she said.
Laura Terrill Patten, a former political science student, credits Rose for a large part of her collegiate success. “Professor Rose makes politics relevant and tangible for her students. Her ability to meld fundamental theory with current research provides students with a solid grasp of our current political landscape.”
Rose’s teaching style sets her apart from her peers, Patten said.
”Each of Professor Rose’s classes is designed to highlight underrepresented societal groups,” Patten said. “Whether it is the struggle women of color faced in the white, upper-class-dominated suffrage movement or the plight of third-party representation at presidential debates, Professor Rose is sure to bring to fore their stories as part of the entire story.”
Rose is also a volunteer with the Classroom Law Project.
”I admire and respect her for the work she does and am continually amazed at her drive and commitment to educating our future leaders,” Patten said.
Sarah Weddington, the lawyer that represented Roe in the Roe v. Wade case, said she met Rose once.
”She seems nice and I think she did a good job on researching and drafting her book,” Weddington said.
In her spare time, Rose likes to travel. Rose and her daughter recently traveled to France for the first time.
”Traveling is what I enjoy most right now because I have a household full of four little kids ages five to 13,” Rose said. “They absorb most of my non-working time.”