Reproductive Justice: Law, Policy and Advocacy
This course offers an opportunity to explore constitutional doctrines on childbearing and to consider contemporary strategies for advancing reproductive justice. We will examine federal court decisions defining reproductive rights, including cases involving conflicts between reproductive freedom, religious liberty and freedom of speech. We will consider the limits of federal constitutional protection for vulnerable women's reproductive choices (prisoners, teenagers, women who need public assistance and soldiers). In light of those limitations, we will consider alternative strategies to strengthen reproductive freedom: state constitutional litigation, legislation, administrative advocacy, communications, organizing and initiative campaigns. Each of these will be paired with a current reproductive rights controversy, such as the federal ban on abortion in military facilities, insurance coverage of contraception, teenagers access to confidential reproductive health care, shackling of pregnant inmates and abstinence-only sex education. Reproductive justice advocates, including litigators, communications experts and empirical health researchers will make guest appearances. The success of this course depends on lively class participation. Students will write a short piece on each week's topic using a different advocacy style (such as a legislative fact sheet, blog post, initiative ballot argument, op-ed article) and will make oral presentations in class.