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2018 Trends in Reproductive Rights Law


Created on March 08, 2018



In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas statutes that restricted access to abortion, articulating a robust, evidence-based legal standard that courts are obliged to apply to such laws moving forward. Since then, courts have nearly unanimously struck down restrictions on abortion access similar to the unconstitutional Texas laws, in addition to newer types of medically unjustified restrictions. Aside from developments in the courts on these cases in 2018, state legislatures will consider hundreds of pieces of legislation that will affect access to reproductive health services across the country. Lawmakers are expected to introduce not only restrictions on access to abortion, but legislation that will improve access to affordable birth control and abortion care in 2018.

Laws restricting access to reproductive health services are often challenged in state and federal courts using a variety of legal claims, and 2018 will see litigation developments on a variety of issues related to reproductive health in a number of forums, including at the appellate level in the federal courts. There will also be developments in a number of challenges to the Trump administration's rollback of the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit that gave access to copay-free contraception to hundreds of thousands of women.

This course, presented by Amanda Allen of the Lawyering Project, will review the legislative activity from the year thus far, as well as major litigation developments regarding access to reproductive health services and an overview of what to expect for the remainder of 2018.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review major trends and themes in legislation affecting reproductive health and rights
  2. Identify common legal claims made in challenging reproductive health restrictions and recent jurisprudential trends, particularly the application of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt to statutes restricting abortion access
  3. Discuss next steps for major court cases, particularly at the appellate level and around the birth control benefit, and looking ahead to the rest of 2018

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