Policing Reproduction: A Symposium at Macaulay Honors College

Since 1973, the year of the historic Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion rights, hundreds of pregnant women, particularly women of color, have been arrested, detained, and jailed for matters relating to their pregnancies.

Some have had miscarriages and yet have been suspected of feticide; others have admitted drug or alcohol use to their physicians and have been arrested for harming the fetus; yet others have faced legal scrutiny for refusing bed rest orders or requesting VBAC (vaginal deliveries) instead of cesarean sections. Authorities have prosecuted pregnant women based on the idea of “fetal personhood,” the notion that an unborn fetus has the same rights as a pregnant woman.

This symposium will bring together a diverse range of scholars, students, and the public to discuss these alarming trends in women’s reproductive health. Those engaged with legal studies, women’s and gender studies, reproductive rights, and medical ethics will be interested to learn about the steady, dangerous, and largely unacknowledged erosion of rights facing pregnant women.


THJeanneFalvinReviseJeanne Flavin is author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: Policing Women's Reproduction in America (NYU Press) and professor of sociology at Fordham University. She is also president of National Advocates for Pregnant Women's board of directors.

THGoodwinMichele Goodwin is one of the world’s leading authorities on the regulation of medicine, science, and biotechnology. She is the founder and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine School of Law and its internationally acclaimed Reproductive Justice Initiative.

THMutchersonKimberly Mutcherson is Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School. Her scholarly work encompasses family and health law to study the relationship between families and the state. She writes on issues related to reproductive justice, with a particular focus on assisted reproduction and its relationship to how the law understands family.


Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a non profit organization working to ensure that upon becoming pregnant, people do not lose their civil and human rights. NAPW combines legal advocacy with organizing and policy work, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women.

THMPerezMiriam Zoila Pérez is a Cuban-American journalist and activist based in Washington, DC. Pérez writes about the intersections of race, health and gender as a columnist at Colorlines and on her blog, Radical Doula. She's the author of The Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer for Full-Spectrum Pregnancy and Childbirth Support. She's a former editor at Feministing, and her writing has appeared in Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect and The Nation. THJSchoenJohanna Schoen is an associate professor of history with an affiliation at the Institute for Health, Health Care, and Aging Research at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She is the author of two books: Abortion After Roe and Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare in the Twentieth Century.  For the past decades, she has worked with abortion providers to preserve the history of legal abortion in the United States and to use historical analysis to help preserve access to abortion care.
THCiviaTamarkinCivia Tamarkin is an award-winning journalist, television news executive and filmmaker who has covered crime, politics, and social issues on national and international assignment. Her reporting led to one of the first exculpatory DNA exonerations in the U.S. and the exoneration of a death row inmate. Tamarkin formerly produced investigative series for ABC News, and she was a CNN executive and Executive Producer of CNN's Emmy Award weekly news magazine show CNN & Time.


Sunday, May 15
5:00-7:00pm Abortion After Roe: Reading and Book Signing
Author Johanna Schoen of Rutgers University will read from Abortion After Roe. A reception and book-signing will follow. Please RSVP separately.


Monday, May 16

8:30-9:00 light breakfast

9:00 welcome and introduction 

9:30 – 11:00 speaker presentations

  • Lynn Paltrow
  • Kim Mutcherson
  • Jeanne Flavin
  • Miriam Zoila Pérez

11:00-12:00 discussion

12:00-1:15 lunch

1:15-2:45 Michele Goodwin

3:00 – 4:00 Civia Tamarkin and Misconceptions (film excerpt and discussion)

4:00 – 4:45 panel with all of the participants

5:00: reception

Professor Reis welcomes volunteers who'd like to help make this event a success and meet the panelists. Email her if you're interested.

Photos: Kimberly Mutcherson by Bob Laramie; Michele Goodwin by Shaffer Portraits.


We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

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