Troubling Legislative Agendas: Leveraging Women's Health Against Women's Reproductive Rights

Michele Goodwin Linda D. & Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Constitutional Law and Global Health Policy, Georgetown Law


July 28, 2017

In this Issue Brief, Michele Goodwin warns that “a virtual renaissance against women’s reproductive health privacy and autonomy is taking shape throughout the United States with the enactment of more antiabortion and contraception laws in recent years than in the collective forty years prior.” Goodwin points out that while the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down a restrictive Texas “TRAP” law and upheld the constitutional right to an abortion, it also perpetuated the misleading notion that abortion is psychologically and physically risky for women and that “women lack the capacity to make informed decisions about terminating their pregnancies without involvement by the state.” In doing so, Whole Woman’s Health left a lot of work to be done in the numerous other states that have enacted restrictive abortion laws, such as Kentucky where the last abortion clinic is now under threat of closing, and left a jurisprudence essentially devoid of sex equality considerations with which to do it.

Read full issue brief here: Troubling Legislative Agendas