Reproduction is a deeply personal activity, yet it is infused with public meaning and mediated by law. As such, it constitutes as well as undermines the public/private divide. This upper-level course explores how legal doctrines (e.g., from constitutional, contract, criminal, and family law) shape individuals’ reproductive choices, and how these doctrines are, in turn, shaped by an expanding array of reproductive options. In addition to jurisprudential analysis of the relationship between reproduction and law, this seminar will pay special attention to gender, race, sexuality, and socio-economic status as categories of social analysis that animate the reproductive justice discourse in the United States.
Because this legal field is ever-changing, the issues covered each offering will vary. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: eugenics and sterilization; contraception; abortion (e.g., legal foundations, state restrictions, public funding, and First Amendment issues raised by clinic protests and conscientious objection clauses); pregnancy and the legal status of the fetus (e.g., criminal liability for fetal harm during pregnancy); assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., sale of gametes, surrogacy, sex selection, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and enhancement, and non-traditional family formation); and other issues impacting reproductive health.
Students enrolling should bring their informed views to class but also be open to the possibility of reconsidering fundamental factual, legal, political, and philosophical assumptions. Requirements include a substantial research paper. With instructor permission, this paper may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement.
Enrollment requires instructor permission. Please e-mail Professor Henry for further information.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|