Leary Lecturer Considers the ‘Cultural Politics’ of Pregnancy

Women’s reproduction dominates recent political platforms and debates.  However, relatively little attention has focused on the criminal law of pregnancy.  Since the late 1980s, state legislatures have enacted punitive feticide laws that apply to a broad range of activities, including falling down steps, suffering drug addiction, refusing cesarean sections, and attempting suicide.  In the 47th annual Leary Lecture, to be held on November 5 at 12:15 p.m., law professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin examines the expanded use of criminal laws to shape new reproductive health norms.

Associate Dean Leslie Francis, director of the College of Law’s Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences, predicts that Professor Goodwin’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will “bring Goodwin’s far-reaching, scholarly, and critical approach to an important problem of social justice facing women in the United States today.  Goodwin is famous for her work on organ tracking, baby selling, and the ethical significance of new medical technologies. She is truly a leader in bringing together fields as diverse as criminal law and bioethics.”

Michele Bratcher Goodwin is the Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Professor Goodwin served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California-Berkeley.

The 47th Annual Leary Lecture, “The New Reproductive Battlefront: Law, Medicine and the Cultural Politics of Pregnancy,” will be held on Monday, November 5 at 12: 15 p.m. in the College of Law’s Sutherland Moot Court Room. The event will be streamed live and archived for future viewing.  One hour free CLE (applied for). A complimentary lunch will be provided for attendees.  Free parking is available in the Rice-Eccles Stadium parking lot.

The Leary Lecture is named in honor of William H. Leary, the College of Law’s dean from 1915 to 1951, who was renowned for his intellectual rigor and love of teaching.