Beyond Roe: Pursuing Reproductive Justice

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

Audre Lorde

JLR is pleased to announce Volume 56’s Symposium: 

Beyond Roe: Pursuing Reproductive Justice

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides a fundamental right to privacy that protects a pregnant person’s liberty to choose whether to have an abortion. From the day of its decision, Roe v. Wade has been the focus of political organization and identity on both the left and right. Now, almost fifty years after Roe, the Supreme Court is deciding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This upcoming decision threatens not only the right to an abortion, but broader protections against state interference with reproductive and sexual freedom.

Despite Roe’s importance in advancing reproductive rights, the case and its progeny have failed to advance reproductive justice. Popular debate on the right to an abortion has focused on an individual “pro-life”/“pro-choice” framework that has minimized the breadth, depth, and complexity of reproductive issues. While abortion remains legal in narrow circumstances across the United States, many pregnant people are unable to make the free choice to receive an abortion. A legal right to abortion is meaningless for pregnant people who cannot access it because of cost, geographical barriers, immigration status, and other social and legal barriers.

For this year’s symposium, the Michigan Journal of Law Reform would like to invite Michigan Law and the broader community to a series of conversations on achieving reproductive justice through legal reform.

Reproductive justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy and encompasses the right to have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive justice is about more than abortion; it raises deep questions about a broad swath of law. In a country where compulsory sterilization remains good law, where LGBTQ+ families face discrimination, where transgender youth and adults are prevented from obtaining gender-affirming care, and where American Indian and tribal child welfare is threatened by state-sanctioned child removal, our understanding of reproductive justice must be expansive and nuanced. Reproductive justice is something that concerns each member of our community, and we hope you join us in this symposium.

One of our goals in putting on this symposium is to bring together a wide range of people to learn from each other and build community. If you have scholarship that you’d like to submit or if you would like to collaborate on this event, please email