By If/When/How staff
Glance through the headlines of almost any news site and you’re likely to see topics that either center or touch upon reproductive rights and justice issues: proliferating abortion restrictions, criminalization of pregnancy, Jane Doe and parental involvement laws, the current administration’s rollback of birth control access, pharmacists and health care providers refusing to perform their duties under the guise of “freedom of religion,” violence against black bodies, the backlog of untested rape kits…. the onslaught never ends. And yet, historically, these issues and the legal and policy landscape that surround them are not discussed in detail at law schools across the country.
Since its founding in 2003, If/When/How has supported law student campaigns for new reproductive rights law and justice (RRLJ) courses to be taught on law school campuses. We believe such efforts are necessary to provide students with more opportunities to engage with reproductive rights doctrine and the reproductive justice framework, as well as to legitimize reproductive rights law within the legal academy.
To understand the big picture, we surveyed U.S. law schools to collect information about RRLJ course offerings. The results of the first Reproductive Rights Law & Justice Course Survey, completed in 2010, confirmed much of what we suspected: in 2010, less than 1 in 5 law schools surveyed had ever offered a reproductive rights-related course.
Today, If/When/How is excited to publish the 2017 Reproductive Rights Law & Justice Course Survey. The survey captures the results of sustained efforts by If/When/How staff, students, and alumni, as well as academic allies, to grow curricular offerings and expose law students to important and timely reproductive rights and justice issues.
Here are some key findings:
- 1 in 4 U.S. law schools have offered a RRLJ course to date
- 54 law schools with RRLJ courses are located in 24 states
- A total of 99 unique RRLJ courses have been offered since 2003
- 1/3 of the 99 RRLJ courses resulted from If/When/How Course Campaigns
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election and the renewed efforts by elected officials to curtail reproductive rights and health care access, issues pertaining to reproductive rights and justice continue to take center stage in the national conversation. These circumstances spotlight the importance of RRLJ courses to train the next generation of legal practitioners and thought leaders on reproductive rights and justice issues so that they can meaningfully engage with these topics in the public square.
For more details, please download the 2017 Reproductive Rights Law & Justice Course Survey.