This course will explore the history and law of reproductive rights in the United States. The majority of the semester will be spent analyzing the constitutional framework, jurisprudence and federal and state regulations governing forced sterilization, contraception and abortion from the 1920s until today. We will consider the historical, social and religious context of the regulation of reproduction; gender, race and socioeconomic class issues; and the practical impact of the regulations in effect today. This course is primarily focused on reproductive rights in the United States, but we may consider comparative international perspectives.
Please note that this course will not cover regulation of parenting, adoption, foster care, assisted reproductive technologies or related reproductive health topics, or reproductive justice in any meaningful detail.
All students are expected to read the assignments, attend class, and prepare for active discussion every week. Depending on course enrollment, I may assign small groups of students to assist me in leading each week’s discussion of the assigned materials. Short oral presentations on current events or topics of particular interest will likely be assigned during the second half of the semester.
Grading: Class participation, including oral presentations, will represent 35% of the final grade. A take-home exam will account for the remaining 65%.