The Past and Future of Reproductive Choice

February 24, 2021 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm


The Past and Future of Reproductive Choice

Linda Greenhouse

Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School

Reva Siegel

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Serena Mayeri

Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania

As the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court case legalizing women’s right to choose an abortion, hangs in the balance, legal scholars Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel talk with Serena Mayeri about the long history of the struggle for reproductive justice in the US.  Among the topics they will consider are the past and present of what has been known since the 70s as the “pro-choice” position and how they see it faring both in the courts and in public opinion going forward. 

Cosponsored by the Department of History and Penn Law’s If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice group.

Linda Greenhouse is a senior research scholar at Yale Law School. From 2009 until 2020, she taught fulltime at as the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, following a long career at the New York Times.  She was the newspaper’s Supreme Court correspondent for nearly 30 years, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her coverage of the Court. Since 2010, she has been a contributing columnist for the New York Times op-ed page, writing a twice-monthly column on the Supreme Court and law.

Other awards during her journalistic career including the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism (Columbia University,2004); the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism (Harvard Kennedy School, 2004); and the Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association for “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics” (2002).

In her extracurricular life, she has served since 2017 as president of the American Philosophical Society, the country’s oldest learned society, to which she was elected in 2001. In 2005, the society awarded her its Henry Allen Moe Prize for writing in jurisprudence and the humanities.

She is a former member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers (2009-2015) and of the national board of the American Constitution Society (2010-2016). She currently serves on the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in the national Senate of Phi Beta Kappa. She is one of two non-lawyers elected to honorary membership in the American Law Institute, which awarded her the Henry Friendly Medal in 2002.  She has received 13 honorary degrees.

Among her publications are Becoming Justice Blackmun, a biography of the Justice; Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (with Reva B. Siegel); The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction; The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (with Michael Graetz), and Just a Journalist, a memoir published in 2017 by Harvard University Press. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College (Harvard) and earned a Master of Studies in Law Degree from Yale Law School, which in 2007 awarded her the Yale Law School Alumni Association Award of Merit.


Reva Siegel is the Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Siegel’s writing draws on legal history to explore questions of law and inequality and to analyze how courts interact with representative government and popular movements in interpreting the Constitution. Her articles include: Why Regulate Guns?, 48(4) J.L. Med. & Ethics (forthcoming 2020) (with Joseph Blocher); The Nineteenth Amendment and the Democratization of the Family, 129 Yale L.J.F. 450 (2020); The Constitutionalization of Disparate Impact—Court-Centered and Popular Pathways, 106 Cal. L. Rev. 2001 (2019); ProChoiceLife: Asking Who Protects Life and How—and Why It Matters in Law and Politics, 93 Ind. L.J. 207 (2018); Community in Conflict: Same-Sex Marriage and Backlash, 64 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 1728 (2017); Conscience Wars: Complicity-Based Conscience Claims in Religion and Politics, 124 Yale L.J. (2015) (with Douglas NeJaime); The Supreme Court, 2012 Term — Foreword: Equality Divided, 127 Harv. L. Rev. (2013); Dead or Alive: Originalism as Popular Constitutionalism in Heller, 122 Harv. L. Rev. 191 (2008); and Why Equal Protection No Longer Protects: The Evolving Forms of Status-Enforcing State Action, 49 Stan. L. Rev. 1111 (1997).

Professor Siegel is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an honorary fellow of the American Society for Legal History. She serves on the board of Advisors and the Board of Academic Advisors of the American Constitution Society and on the General Council of the International Society of Public Law.


Serena Mayeri is Professor of Law and History at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she teaches and writes about legal history, equality, work, and the family. Her book, Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard University Press), received the Littleton-Griswold Prize from the American Historical Association for the best book in sociolegal history and the Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on African American women’s and gender history.  She is currently at work on a book exploring challenges to the legal primacy of marriage in the United States since 1960. Her scholarship has also appeared in numerous edited volumes, including Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories, and in publications such as the Yale Law Journal, the California Law Review, and Constitutional Commentary. Mayeri holds a secondary appointment in the Department of History at Penn, where she is also a member of the Core Faculty and the Executive Board of the Program on Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy. Mayeri was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians in 2016. Prior to coming to Penn, she earned her J.D. and Ph.D in History from Yale, clerked for the Honorable Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and served as a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow at the New York University School of Law.