reproductive freedom

  • How the Comstock Act is Making a Comeback

    Lauren MacIvor Thompson and Mary Ziegler discuss the history of the 19th century Comstock Act and its appeal to abortion opponents as a legal tool to ban abortion nationally. 

  • After Dobbs, Women Have Been Pushed Out of the Legal Debate on Abortion

    by Felicia Kornbluh

    Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's recent ruling focused on his interpretation of the rights of fetuses and physicians, while ignoring the real-world health and reproductive concerns of women. Reproductive freedom advocates can learn from earlier generations of women who stressed the rights of women before Roe. 

  • History of Reproductive Law Shows Women in Power aren't the Solution

    by Lara Friedenfelds

    The end of Roe v. Wade makes difficult pregnancies and miscarriages potentially legaly perilous for women. The history of how the law determines fault in a lost pregnancy shows that women are as capable as men of participating in a regime that punishes other women for the ends of their pregnancies. 

  • How Private Equity Cashed in on Medical Abortion

    The American effort to bring the French RU-486 medication to the domestic market made medical abortion much more widely accessible. But, in true American fashion, the involvement of private investors looking for profit also made it much more expensive—even more so after Dobbs.

  • Margaret Sanger's Ghost and the Antiabortion Movement

    by Melinda Cooper

    The anti-abortion right's invocation of eugenics in the Dobbs case and in their public rhetoric might seem cynical. But it could be effective, unless the history of Sanger's relationship to eugenics and reproductive freedom is better understood. 

  • 50 Years at Cook County Hospital Prove Abortion is Healthcare

    by Amy Zanoni

    Abortion rights activists have focused on horror stories of the pre-Roe era as cautionary tales, but the history of public hospitals since Roe shows that real reproductive freedom requires expanded access to care and a robust social safety net. 

  • The "Stolen Babies" of Fascist Spain Seek the Truth

    Some estimate that tens of thousands of babies were taken from poor mothers and secretly sold to elite Catholic families, with compliant government officials providing documentary cover. 

  • Black Women's Expansive Vision of Reproductive Freedom

    by Ashley Farmer

    The history of radical Black women activists offers a model for fighting not just for legal abortion, but to create a world in which women would be truly free to have or not have children without constraint by law, poverty, or lack of access to information. 

  • The Coming Pregnancy Surveillance State Will Bring "Homeland Security" to Women's Bodies

    by Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz

    The Dobbs ruling puts longstanding racist and nationalist beliefs that white women's reproductive labor is the price of their citizenship, and punitive controls on women of color, on collision course with the modern capacity of digital surveillance, threatening the criminalization of any miscarried pregnancy. 

  • Reproductive Rights, Slavery, and the Post-Dobbs World

    by Jennifer L. Morgan

    Black women's history with reproductive freedom from slavery to today shows that racial and gendered oppression depend on the denial, embraced by Clarence Thomas, of a constitutional protection for bodily autonomy. 

  • Mary Ziegler: Right Won't Stop at Roe

    Law professor Mary Ziegler explains how the anti-abortion movement upended the GOP establishment and helped push the courts to the right. Her new book is Dollars for Life.

  • Early Pregnancy Testing Required Sacrificing Rabbits

    Women have always had an interest in detecting pregancy as soon as possible; the development of tests for pregnancy hormones involved fugitives from the Nazis and unfortunate rodents who were autopsied in early tests. 

  • Texas Allows Abortion to Save a Woman's Life. Right?

    American hospitals by the 1950s formed "therapeutic abortion committees" to rule whether individual women needed abortions to protect their lives. Those committees' decisions reflected religious morality, class and racial prejudice, and other subjective perceptions of a patient's worthiness.