Program Details

Women's Reproductive Health Rights in America: Where are We? How did We Get Here? What's Going to Happen Next?

Roy Klein
Politics / Law

Course Description

The course will summarize, principally from legal/constitutional/political perspectives, the history, current status, and possible future of women's reproductive health rights (mainly birth control and abortion rights) in America. Recognizing the issue as one of the most complex, controversial and polarizing issues of the past several generations (because it has medical/scientific, political, legal, constitutional, philosophical, social, cultural, religious, and emotional implications), the lecture focuses on: the period before the 1960s, when abortion and birth control were widely banned; the policy reasons for loosening prohibitions in the '60s; key Supreme Court decisions recognizing women's rights in the area, including Griswold, Roe v. Wade, and Casey; the emergence of the pro-life movement, and the ways that both the movement and the impact of prenatal science and technology have succeeded in narrowing the scope of Roe v. Wade; and, based on the history and trends, where things are likely to go in the near future. The goal is to provide attendees with a complete picture of this uniquely difficult issue, in an even-handed, non-partisan way. 

About the Instructor

  • Roy Klein, JD, Esq. is an honors graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a two-time Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. In forty years of legal practice with a small Manhattan law firm, with a large national law firm and as a sole practitioner, he represented large companies, small businesses, and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, employment, and constitutional/civil-rights litigation. As president of the Nassau County (N.Y.) chapter of the ACLU, Klein spoke regularly to high school, college, civic, and community groups on a wide variety of constitutional/civil-liberties issues. He also contributed to a recently published Time Kids publication for middle-schoolers about the Constitution.