Yale Law School
Fifty years ago, in Roe v. Wade, Justice Blackmun set into motion the idea that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor.' That idea traveled from the Supreme Court decision to popular discourse; with it, came the notion that when it comes to reproduction, medical experts are a key part of women's liberation. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the court ignored the role of experts and threw the question of who should decide when and how a person has an abortion to the people. In my essay for this symposium issue dedicated to feminist legal praxis, I will argue that contestation around medical and epidemiological evidence will continue to shape the abortion debates despite the Supreme Court's recent decision. Reproductive rights advocates need to continue to pay close attention to new battles occurring in the register of evidence, medicine, and expertise. Doing so will require reproductive rights advocates to examine purportedly neutral scientific and expert-based justifications in the legal regulation of the practice of medicine and medication more closely.2 This will create new and necessary avenues for legal advocacy, including challenging when and where legal institutions legitimate misinformation about abortion or limit access to abortion based on science and evidence. In taking on questions of expertise and evidence, abortion rights advocates can learn from the overlapping movement to end racial bias in medicine and medical technology.
Feminist Legal Theory and Praxis after Dobbs: Science, Politics, and Expertise
Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/3573