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.
Reproductive rights continue to be contested and eroded in the U.S. and throughout the world. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld laws curtailing access to contraception and abortion, and state legislatures continue to pass an unprecedented number of restrictive bills. There has been an escalation of anti-abortion rhetoric, threats and violence including the murders of three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. We will examine these issues in historical perspective, looking at the various ways in which the attacks and the resistance has been framed. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach, exploring the ethical, political, philosophical and legal dimensions of issues. The abortion battle is only one part of the struggle for reproductive health, rights and justice. Using reproductive justice as our analytic frame, we examine the ways that gender, race, socio-economic circumstances, sexual identity and ethnicity shape a person's reproductive experiences. Specific topics of inquiry include: sterilization abuse and coercive contraception, welfare rights, population control, and the criminalization of pregnancy, abortion and popular culture, tactics and strategies of the anti-abortion, pro choice and reproductive justice movements.
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: claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the refusal of some public officials to issue marriage licenses to people who identify as LBGTQ; 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 complete a final research paper or project.
This course investigates the roles of law, culture and technology in creating and re-defining families. It focuses on the ways in which systems of reproduction reinforce and/or challenge inequalities of class, race and gender. We examine the issues of entitlement to parenthood, LBGTQ families, domestic and international adoption, surrogacy, birthing and parenting for people in prison, and the uses, consequences and ethics of new reproductive technologies. The questions addressed included: 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, which 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? Students are required to write three reflection papers, give an oral presentation, and write a final analytic paper based on independent research.