For decades abortion access has been one of the most polarizing issues in American society. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has catalyzed the elimination or severe restriction of access to legal abortion care in the United States. In this talk, the speakers address the consequences of the decision beyond abortion care. The speakers caution that focusing on Roe as a decision that only protected ending a pregnancy ignores the ways in which overturning it will curtail fundamental rights for all those who become pregnant and undermine their status as full persons meriting Constitutional protections. The harms imposed, such as legal surveillance, civil detentions, forced interventions, and criminal prosecution disproportionately affect persons of color and perpetuate structural racism. The speakers show how evolving misuses of history played a role in abortion jurisprudence, discouraging popular engagement and muddying an already divisive issue.
Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, attendees will be able to:
- Understand past and future ways that limitations on access to abortion affects all pregnant persons and others seeking reproductive health care;
- Explain how limitations on abortion access curtail fundamental rights for all pregnant persons and thus undermine their status as full persons meriting constitutional protections;
- Discuss how these limitations shrink the common ground that those across the ideological spectrum on abortion might inhabit.
This was an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA) hosted by the Center for Bioethics and co-sponsored by the following U of MN units: the Medical School, the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health, the Law School, the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy, the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, the Center for Women's Health Research, and the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
If you'd like to learn more about the speakers' work on this topic, you can read their publication here: "Beyond Abortion: The Consequences of Overturning Roe".
Mary Faith Marshall, PhD, FCCM, HEC-C, is the Director of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics and Director of the Program in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. With her colleagues Lois Shepherd and Julia Taylor, she co-founded the University of Virginia's Studies in Reproductive Ethics and Justice program. She is Professor of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Acute and Specialty Care in the School of Nursing. She co-chairs the UVA Health System Ethics Committee, directs its Ethics Consult Service, and serves on its Moral Distress Consult Service. Her expertise includes reproductive, clinical and research ethics, and moral distress.
Lynn Paltrow, JD, founded Pregnancy Justice (formerly known as National Advocates for Pregnant Women) in 2001. Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews, and peer-reviewed journals. She is a Gemini and mother of twins. Learn more.