Lina-Maria Murillo

Color headshot of Lina-Maria Murillo
History and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies
University of Iowa

Lina-Maria Murillo is Assistant Professor of History and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. She received her doctorate in Borderlands History at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2016. She received her MA in 2011 from UTEP and her BA in History and Raza Studies from San Francisco State University in 2007. She is completing her manuscript titled Fighting for Control: Race and Reproductive Rights Activism in the U.S-Mexico Borderlands. Describing the clinics, organizations, and institutions that helped to foster access to reproductive care along the border in the twentieth century, this history reveals the tensions between advocates for population control and those committed to greater reproductive rights for the majority Mexican-origin women in the region. The study focuses on the history of Planned Parenthood along the line and shines a light on the unknown history of abortion, population control, and Chicana activism that comprised the movement in the borderlands.

For her next project, Murillo is writing the biography of the unknown abortion rights activist Patricia Maginnis, who in the years before Roe v. Wade established a well-organized abortion network across the border. This biography will center Maginnis in the creation of the National Association for Repeal of Abortions Laws and in facilitating the work of other abortion referral services like the National Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion and Abortion Counseling Services. It also looks at the underground abortion specialists that dominated this illegal economy in border towns across Mexico’s northern territories. A truly transnational tale, Murillo seeks to show how everyday people on both sides of the national divide risked their livelihoods and lives to secure women’s autonomy and reproductive freedom.