Johanna Schoen, Ph.D.

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Professor, Department of History, (848) 932-5873

Johanna Schoen (Ph.D. Univ. of North Carolina, 1996) is a Professor in the Department of History. Her major interests are the history of women and medicine, the history of reproductive rights, and the history of sexuality. Her research traces women’s health and reproductive care through the twentieth century. Her book, Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, examines the role which birth control, sterilization, and abortion played in public health and welfare policies between the 1920s and the 1970s.

In 2002, she shared her research on the history of eugenic sterilization in North Carolina with a journalist from the Winston Salem Journal. North Carolina’s sterilization program ran from the 1920s to the 1970s and led to the sterilization of more than 7000 people. The paper ran a week-long series of articles on the subject ( ) which ultimately resulted in an official apology by the governor of North Carolina. In 2007, Schoen designed an exhibit on North Carolina’s eugenic sterilization program which opened that year in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh and is now on exhibit in the North Carolina Office of State Archives and History. Currently, North Carolina is discussing the possibility of restitution payments to sterilization victims – the first state in the country to take such a step.

Schoen’s current work traces the history of abortion from the late 1960s to the present. Her forthcoming book, Abortion After Legalization, will analyze the long-term impact which the abortion conflict has had on health care delivery and women’s access to the procedure. In addition, Schoen is writing a biography of Susan Hill who was the founder, president and CEO of the National Women’s Health Organization – the biggest umbrella group of abortion clinics after Planned Parenthood. Her work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative, the American Philosophical Society, and the NEH.