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Reproduction, Sexuality and the Law

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General Enrollment Course
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Course Description

This class will survey selected aspects of the rapidly changing law concerning reproduction and sexuality. Starting with the evolution of the constitutional right to privacy, the course will review abortion and contraception jurisprudence, touching on pregnancy discrimination, fetal rights, and reproductive policy affecting low-income women and people of color. The course will then turn to LGBT issues, including marriage, second-parent adoption, third-party custody, and domestic partnerships; employment discrimination against LGBT people; and emerging legal issues affecting transgendered people. We will examine the competing doctrinal, legal, and constitutional bases of individual rights in these evolving fields of law, analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of grounding these rights in equal protection theory versus substantive due process, and weighing the role of state constitutions in protecting liberty in an era of federal retrenchment. Throughout the semester, guest speakers who have served as litigants or counsel in cases studied in the course will add a practical dimension to the class, providing students with insight into the strategic, ethical, and personal decisions encountered in impact litigation.