• The Rise of the SCOTUS "Shadow Docket"

    An increasing amount of the court's consequential business is being conducted through emergency orders in response to lower court rulings, without public argument or signed opinions, argues legal scholar Steve Vladek. Although there are reasons for fast action in some cases, the court's public legitimacy is undermined.

  • The Relevance of Common Law to Today's Abortion Debate: How Did the Law Work in Practice?

    by Katherine Bergevin, Stephanie Insley Hershinow and Manushag N. Powell

    Samuel Alito's ruling in Dobbs claimed to ground itself in the English common law's treatment of pregnancy. But he focused on a small number of published treatises while ignoring the record of how the law actually treated pregnant women and fetuses. 

  • Abortion Restrictions Aimed at Minors Will Never Stop There

    by Mary Ziegler

    In the years after Roe v. Wade, abortion opponents recognized both that children didn't always enjoy the same constitutional protections as adults and that many voters would separate "parental rights" from the organized effort to roll back abortion rights. The ploy was effective, and is being repeated in legislation banning travel to access abortion.

  • The New Anti-Abortion Movement is Targeting Complete Bans

    Abortion law historian Mary Ziegler says that a younger generation of uncompromising leaders is likely to win control of the antiabortion movement and push for legislation and policy changes without regard for their public popularity. Daniel K. Williams says the Dobbs ruling has only fueled their sense of righteousness.

  • Judge Kacsmaryk Misread the Comstock Act

    by Lauren MacIvor Thompson

    The initial draft of the 1873 anti-obscenity legislation, which banned mailing information about and devices or medicines intended to induce abortion, had an exemption for physicians, and later court precedents interpreted the act as if that exemption were part of the law. Judge Kacsmaryk has ignored this legal history in his ruling. 

  • 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. 

  • Federal Judges Explain Things to Me

    by Felicia Kornbluh

    An ideological and fact-challeged ruling by a single judge to revoke the FDA's approval of mifepristone shows the danger of years of complacency about the security of reproductive freedom. 

  • 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. 

  • Texas's Abortion Ban Can Never be Made Humane

    by Mary Ziegler

    When abortion access depends on establishing that a pregnant woman deserves an exception to a ban, the law will inevitably prevent doctors from serving patients with problem pregnancies.