Faculty Director of CLPP, Professor of Philosophy
Her scholarship and teaching is focused primarily on abortion rights and access, reproductive and sexual rights and health, and legal theory. She edited From Abortion Rights to Reproductive Freedom: Transforming A Movement, is co-author with Jael Silliman, Loretta Ross, and Elena Gutiérrez of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, November, 2004 (awarded the Myers Outstanding Book Award by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights), and co-authored the chapter on abortion in the 2005 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
She is also a long-time reproductive rights activist and was the founding president and served for 21 years on the board of the National Network of Abortion Funds. She was also the founding president and continues to serve on the board of the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts. She also works on abortion advocacy internationally with the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights.
She is a recipient of the 2014 Felicia Stewart Advocacy Award as well as the Warrior Women Award from SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
This course explores past and current debates over the role of religion and science in public policy, specifically in the areas reproductive rights, health and justice. We look both at claims that science and religion are inevitably in conflict, as well as arguments for their compatibility. Topics may include: the FDA's initial refusal to approve over the counter distribution of emergency contraception; claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the debates over public funding for abstinence-only sexuality education, and coverage of abortion and contraception in the Affordable Care Act. We will look at these issues in the context of broader societal debates over the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools and challenges to claims about the objectivity of science. Students are required to participate in class discussions, give an oral presentation, write short essays based on the readings and a final research paper or project.
Abortion rights continue to be contested in the U.S. and throughout the world. Since the legalization of abortion in the U.S. in 1973, there have been significant erosions in abortion rights and access to abortion. Harassment of abortion clinics, providers, and clinic personnel by opponents of abortion is routine, and there have been several instances of deadly violence. This course examines the abortion debate in the U.S., looking historically at the period before legalization up to the present. We explore the ethical, political and legal dimensions of the issue and investigate the anti-abortion and abortion rights movements. We view the abortion battle in the U.S. in the wider context of reproductive justice. Specific topics of inquiry include: abortion worldwide, coercive contraception and sterilization abuse, welfare rights, population control, and the criminalization of pregnancy.
This course will investigate the roles of law, culture and technology in creating and re-defining families. We will focus on the ways in which systems of reproduction reinforce and/or challenge inequalities of class, race and gender. We will examine the issues of entitlement to parenthood, domestic and international adoption, surrogacy, birthing and parenting for people in prison, and the uses, consequences and ethics of new reproductive technologies designed to help people give birth to biologically-related children. Questions to be addressed include: How does a person's status affect their relation to reproductive alternatives? What is the relationship between state reproductive policies and actual practices, legal, contested, and clandestine, that develop around these policies? How are notions of family and parenting enacted and transformed in an arena that is transnational, interracial, intercultural, and cross-class?