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Spring 2024 Seminar

Abortion: Law, Policy and Ethics

Prerequisite: Constitutional Law or equivalent coursework

Exam Type: No Exam

With the law of abortion in flux, it is important for future lawyers to have an opportunity to study the issue in detail and to decide what they think. This seminar is intended to give students a chance to discuss, in a relaxed academic setting, the difficult and important questions of ethics, policy, and law raised by abortion. These include questions of human personhood and futures of value; of autonomy and sex equality; of politics and history; of unenumerated rights and stare decisis; and of federal and state regulation.

Many of these questions are both highly abstract and deeply personal. While they are the subject of intense and heartfelt commitment on both sides, this course is offered in the belief that they are also a proper subject for intellectual inquiry. Within each unit, the assigned readings are roughly balanced as to viewpoint; they take deeply conflicting positions, and you will certainly disagree with some of them. Students will write occasional short papers in response to the readings, and each student is expected to participate fully in the discussions.

Note: Students who have taken Professor Sachs’s 1L reading group, Thinking About Abortion, are not eligible to enroll in this seminar.