After Dobbs: the Assault on Reproductive Justice and Equality 

B&W picture of pro-choice protest, people holding signs in front of supreme court

Posted in Home Lectures

Presented by the Gender+ Justice Initiative

You can now watch the videos of the three multi-disciplinary panels and interactive discussions with leading scholars, activists, practitioners, and elected officials about the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, which overturned Roe v. Wade and decimated the fundamental right to abortion and bodily autonomy.

Friday, September 16 – Virtual Conference

Panel 1: The Paths to Dobbs: History, Ideology, and Race

Moderated by Naomi Mezey, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and G+JI Faculty Co-Director

With Michele Goodwin, Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law, Kathryn Kolbert, Reproductive Rights Litigator and Journalist, Krystal Leaphart, Senior Policy Analyst, National Birth Equality Collective, Ria Tabacco Mar, Director, ACLU Women’s Rights Project, Rafia Zakaria, Author, Attorney and Activist, African American Policy Forum, Mary Ziegler, Professor of Law and Historian, University of California, Davis School of Law

Dr. Michele Goodwin is Chancellor’s professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine where she directs the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy. Her writings address pressing matters of law, society, and global health. An award-winning author, her publications appear across numerous law review articles and book chapters. She is author of Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood. She is the host of the popular podcast, On the Issues with Michele Goodwin, at Ms. magazine. Her writings address pressing matters of law, society, and global health.

Kathryn Kolbert is a public-interest attorney, journalist, and entrepreneurial leader, she has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” In 1992, Kolbert made her second appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  This landmark case has been widely credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what has called “one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.” 

Krystal Leaphart is the Senior Policy Analyst at the National Birth Equity Collaborative. In this role, Krystal, is responsible for helping to shape the NBEC Federal, State and Local policy and advocacy priorities. Using her decade of experience in legislative advocacy and grassroots activism, she makes recommendations to elected officials and important stakeholders on the best way to advance birth equity using a Reproductive Justice Lens. Krystal also worked to make sure that elected black women across the country centered black women and girls in their policy agendas at the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women. 

Ria Tabacco Mar is the Director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, where she oversees the ACLU’s women’s rights litigation. Previously, she was a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project, where she fought gender stereotypes, sex segregation, and attempts to use religion to discriminate in schools, at work, and in public places. Ria was part of the ACLU’s litigation team representing Aimee Stephens and Don Zarda, whose cases were decided as part of the recent Supreme Court ruling recognizing that federal employment law protections apply to LGBTQ people. Ria has been recognized on The Root 100 annual list of the most influential African Americans ages 25 to 45 and as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Rafia Zakaria is an author, attorney, and human rights activist who has worked on behalf of victims of domestic violence around the world. She published Against White Feminism, in which she critiques the emphasis that conventional feminist thought places on the experiences of white women while excluding women of color. She is a columnist for the African American Policy Forum, Al Jazeera America, Ms., Dissent, and Dawn. Zakaria served on the board of directors of Amnesty International USA 2009-2015.

Mary Ziegler is the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of law at the University of California, Davis. She is an expert on the law, history, and politics of reproduction, health care, and conservatism in the United States from 1945 to the present. She is one of the world’s leading historians of the U.S. abortion debate. She is the author of several books on social movement struggles around reproduction, autonomy, and the law, including Abortion and the Law in America, the award-winning After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate, Reproduction and the Constitution


Panel 2: The Meanings and Effects of Dobbs: Originalism, Criminalization, and Health Justice

Flyer for Panel 2 with speakers' headshots

Moderated by Deborah Epstein, Professor of Law, Director, Domestic Violence Clinic, Georgetown University Law Center

With Katherine Franke, Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law, Kimala Price, Professor of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University and Member of SisterSong, WoC for Reproductive Justice Collective, Lupe Rodríguez, Executive Director, Latina Institute, Dana Sussman, Deputy Executive Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Deshawn Taylor, Board-certified OB/GYN, Clinical Professor, Advocate, and owner of Desert Star Family Planning, Robin West, Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Katherine Franke is the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, and Director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. She is also on the Executive Committees of Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, and the Center for Palestine Studies. She is among the nation’s leading scholars writing on law, sexuality, race, and religion drawing from feminist, queer, and critical race theory. Franke is the founder and faculty director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project, a think tank based at Columbia Law School that develops policy and thought leadership on the complex ways in which religious liberty rights interact with other fundamental rights.

Kimala Price is a Professor of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University and co-director of the Bread and Roses Center for Feminist Research and Activism. In addition to her research and scholarship on reproductive health policy and politics, she has a strong commitment to feminist activism and policy advocacy. For more than two decades, Dr. Price has been active in the reproductive rights and reproductive justice movements, including working for national women’s rights organizations in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA; she has also worked as a legislative fellow for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. She serves on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, is an active member of SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Collective, and served on the founding advisory board of Women, Action and the Media.

Lupe Rodríguez is the Executive Director of the Latina Institute and has been a leader in the reproductive rights, health and justice movements for over 14 years. Previously, she was Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the US. Throughout her career, Lupe has devoted her work to community, women rights, health justice, and reproductive justice, including Chair of the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, Chair of the Board of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, Treasurer of the Board of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and Leader of the Community Advisory Board for the Center for Clinical Research at Stanford Medical School.

Dana Sussman, is Deputy Executive Director for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Most recently, Dana served for six years as Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs at the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Dana oversaw the Commission’s gender justice policy portfolio, including efforts to address sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and gender identity discrimination, among others. Dana was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon, where she specialized in representing domestic workers who were trafficked and exploited by foreign officials in violation of federal law. She was formerly an Associate at Outten & Golden LLP representing employees in wage and hour cases and gender, pregnancy, disability, and LGBTQ discrimination matters.

Dr. Deshawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG, is a board-certified OB/GYN, clinical professor, women’s health and reproductive rights advocate, and owner of Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix, AZ. Desert Star Family Planning caters to all members of the communities in Phoenix, including men. Patients have access to annual exams, STD testing, birth control, and family planning advice, as well as medical (pill) and surgical abortions. Dr. Taylor’s goal is to offer fully integrated women’s health and sexual health services. Desert Star Family Planning wants to remove the stigma from reproductive health with patient-centered well-woman, family planning, and sexual health care. Dr. Taylor is specialized in family planning and completed rigorous fellowship training at the USC Medical School in Los Angeles.

Robin West is the Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy Emeritus at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor West’s research is primarily concerned with feminist legal theory, constitutional law and theory, philosophy of law, and the law and literature movement. West is well recognized for her work in the ethics of care and feminist legal theory. She has also published extensively on the concept of consent in sexual, legal, and institutional contexts. She is the author of Progressive Constitutionalism, and Narrative, Authority and Law, Caring for justice, Normative jurisprudence. Professor West taught at a number of universities including the University of Maryland Law School, University of Chicago and Stanford Law Schools and University of Hawaii. 


Panel 3: The Futures of Dobbs: Opportunities, Activism, and Creative Rage

Flyer for Panel 3 with speakers' headshots

Moderated by Kristi Graves, Associate Professor of Oncology and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Georgetown University School of Medicine

With Leila Abolfazli, Director of Federal Reproductive Rights, National Women’s Law Center, Sherry Boston, District Attorney, DeKalb County, GA, Caitlin Chin, Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Victoria Nourse, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Elizabeth Reiner Platt, Director, The Law, Rights, and Religion Project, Columbia Law School, Anna Rupani, Executive Director and Advocate, Fund Texas Choice, Jose Vela, Austin City Council Member

Leila Abolfazli, is Director of Federal Reproductive Rights at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). She works on a range of issues involving the protection and expansion of reproductive rights at the federal level. Before first joining NWLC in 2011, Abolfazli was a Senior Associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. From 2016-2018, Abolfazli was a teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, returning to NWLC after completing the fellowship.

Sherry Boston is the DeKalb County, GA District Attorney and has become an integral part of the national dialogue on criminal justice reform. In her capacity, DA Boston oversees the prosecution of felony offenses filed in the Superior Court of DeKalb County. Since taking this role, she has restructured and redefined prosecution processes and increased the capacity to serve victims. She was on Atlanta Magazine’s list as one of Atlanta’s 500 Most Influential People. In June 2022, DA Boston joined other public officials nationwide who vowed not prosecute abortion-related cases following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. DA Boston has received numerous legal appointments and wide recognition for her prevention/intervention initiatives and commitment to domestic violence awareness. 

Caitlin Chin, is a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she researches technology regulation. She previously worked as a research analyst at the Brookings Institution, where her projects centered around U.S. federal and state legislation related to information privacy, antitrust, and algorithmic bias. Chin co-authored “Bridging the gaps: A path forward to federal privacy legislation”, which put forward a comprehensive framework for national commercial privacy standards. She has published over two dozen other reports or commentaries on public policy issues including “Addressing Big Tech’s power over speech” and “Why Democrats and Republicans would benefit from hate crime protections for Asian Americans.”

Victoria Nourse is the Ralph Whitworth Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She has previously worked as a lawyer in the White House, in the Senate, in the Justice Department, and in private practice in New York. She is a leading scholar in statutory and constitutional interpretation and writes about the separation of powers, among other things. She has been a visiting professor at Northwestern, NYU, and Yale. Her books include Misreading Law, Misreading Democracy, Reclaiming the Constitutional Text from Originalism, The Impeachment Trials of Donald Trump: An Introduction to Constitutional Interpretation. The story of her role in the fight for the original Violence Against Women Act is told in the 2009 book Equal: Women Reshape American Law.

Elizabeth Reiner Platt, is the Director of the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School. Previously she was a Staff Attorney at MFY Legal Services Mental Health Law Project. She was a Carr Center for Reproductive Justice Fellow at A Better Balance. During law school, Liz worked with the Urban Justice Sex Workers Project, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Brennan Center for Justice. In 2013, she published Gangsters to Greyhounds: The Past, Present and Future of Offender Registration, 37 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 727 (2013).

Anna Rupani is the Executive Director of Fund Texas Choice. Prior to joining FTC, Anna was a practicing lawyer. She dedicated her legal career in the public interest and movement lawyering sector, focusing on serving undocumented immigrant survivors of trauma, abuse, gang violence, and human trafficking. Her desire to work in immigration comes from being a first generation Pakistani-American who saw how the American Immigration system impacted her own family. Her work focuses on the intersection of immigration justice and reproductive justice. She has been awarded the Outstanding Co-Chair Award for her work with Lawyers Against Domestic Violence Committee of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. 

Vanessa Fuentes proudly represents District 2 on the Austin City Council. Since taking office in 2021 amid the pandemic, Vanessa has fought for improved health and livability by championing issues around COVID-19 response and recovery, climate resilience, transit, creative arts survival and quality of life issues. Fuentes and Vela are behind the Austin GRACE Act (stands for Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone), which is designed to protect access to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal protections. In addition to tackling challenges around reproductive justice, she has taken a stand for health equity as vice-chair of the Public Health Committee by sponsoring legislation on community health workers, vaccine distribution justice, mental health services and healthy food access.

Jose “Chito” Vela is proudly represents District 4 on the Austin City Council. He aims to make Austin a safe and thriving home for the working class. Before his election, he worked as an immigration and criminal defense lawyer at Walker Gates Vela. His passion has always been defending the residents of Texas from forces that seek to marginalize them, and has a stunning record on immigration and criminal justice reform. Vela and Fuentes are behind the Austin GRACE Act (stands for Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone), which is designed to protect access to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal protections. 


ASL interpretation and Automatic Closed Captions. You will also find time stamps for the various segments in the Desciption box on YouTube. 

Please contact genderjustice@georgetown.edu with any questions about the event, and by 9/12 for accessibility requests.

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