Annual Conference

Reproductive Rights Law:  Where is the Woman?

April 1, 2014, Greenberg Lounge, NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South, New York, NY

The first annual conference of the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at NYU School of Law, established 2013. 

Registration is from 8:00-9:00 am, and Dean Trevor Morrison will deliver opening remarks at 9:00 am.

For the full conference program, click here.

Historically women have been the subjects and objects of law – not its makers, interpreters and enforcers. The voices of “woman”—in all her different origins, richly diverse, manifold manifestations and life experiences—are still largely unheard in the law. It is therefore not surprising that advocates and scholars examining US Reproductive Rights Law for its impact on women are struck by its unawareness of and insensitivity to the woman and to the humanity and humane experience that women centrally represent in our struggles over reproduction and its regulation. To achieve justice, we must change that. We have, therefore, taken “Where is the Woman?” as the theme for our first ever conference of the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice.

View the speakers' short bios and video from the conference presentations below. 


Keynote Speaker:

Carol Gilligan
University Professor, New York University

In 1996, Carol Gilligan was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans; Harvard University Press describes her 1982 book In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development as “the little book that started a revolution.”  At its center, Gilligan presented her study with pregnant women considering abortion in the years immediately following Roe v. Wade and showed how listening to women reframed the conversation. Her subsequent research on girls’ development along with a study of young boys and work with couples in crisis highlighted the affinity between the requisites for love and the requisites for democratic citizenship. The Times Literary Supplement acclaimed her 2002 book The Birth of Pleasure as “a thrilling new paradigm.” More recent books include Kyra: A Novel (2008), The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance and Democracy’s Future (with NYU law professor David A. J. Richards, 2009) and Joining the Resistance (2011), where she joins her current thinking about the major themes of her work with an account of her personal journey into research and advocacy. Before coming to NYU, Gilligan held Harvard University’s first chair in gender studies; she has received a Senior Research Scholar’s award from the Spencer Foundation, a Grawemeyer award for her contributions to education, and a Heinz award for her contributions to understanding the human condition. 



R. Alta Charo
Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin at Madison

R. Alta Charo teaches health law, bioethics and biotechnology law, food and drug law, medical ethics, reproductive rights, torts, and legislative drafting. Charo previously served on President Obama's transition team, where she was a member of the Health and Human Services (HHS) review team. She also served as a senior policy advisor on emerging technology issues in the Office of the Commissioner at the US Food & Drug Administration, and has served on numerous advisory committees for the federal government, including the National Bioethics Advisory Committee under President Clinton. She has also served as a member of the boards of the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Foundation for Genetic Medicine, the National Medical Advisory Committee of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the program board of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, among other organizations. Charo is the author of nearly 100 articles, book chapters, and government reports on law and policy related to environmental protection, reproductive health, new reproductive technologies, medical genetics, stem cell research, science funding, and research ethics.  


Peggy Cooper Davis
John S. R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics, NYU School of Law

Peggy Cooper Davis is an influential legal scholar in the areas of child welfare, constitutional rights of family liberty, and interdisciplinary analysis of legal pedagogy and process. Davis’s book, Neglected Stories: The Constitution and Family Values, illuminates the importance of anti-slavery traditions as interpretive guides to the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Her recent book, Enacting Pleasure, is a collection of essays exploring the social, cultural, psychological, and political implications of Carol Gilligan’s relational psychology. For more than 10 years, Davis directed the NYU Law’s Lawyering Program, a widely acclaimed course of experiential learning that distinguishes the Law School’s first-year curriculum. She now directs the Experiential Learning Lab, through which she works to develop and test progressive learning strategies and to develop professional education courses that systematically address the interpretive, interactive, ethical, and social dimensions of practice. Davis has served as chair of the board of the Russell Sage Foundation and as a director of numerous not-for-profit, for-profit, and government entities. Prior to joining the faculty of NYU Law in 1983, Davis served for three years as a judge of the Family Court of the State of New York after 10 years in practice.


Lynn Paltrow ’83
Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women 

Lynn Paltrow is known for her vision, her commitment to ensuring that women’s voices are clearly heard, and that their actual lived experience informs advocacy and activism to advance reproductive justice. She is founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). NAPW combines legal advocacy, organizing, and public education to secure the human and civil rights, health, and welfare of all women. NAPW places particular emphasis on the rights of pregnant and parenting women, focusing especially on those women who are most vulnerable to state control and punishment, namely low income women, women of color, and women who use criminalized drugs. Paltrow has also worked with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (now the Center for Reproductive Rights), and Planned Parenthood of New York City. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews, and peer reviewed journals including "Roe v. Wade and the New Jane Crow: Reproductive Rights in the Age of Mass Incarceration," American Journal of Public Health.


Professor Dorothy Roberts
George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Dorothy Roberts is the author of the award-winning books Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty and Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare as well as co-editor of six books on constitutional law and gender. She has also published more than 80 articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review. Her latest book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century, was published in July 2011. Roberts serves as chair of the board of directors of the Black Women's Health Imperative, on the board of directors of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, and on the advisory boards of the Center for Genetics and Society and Family Defense Center. She also serves on a panel of five national experts that is overseeing foster care reform in Washington State and on the Standards Working Group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She recently received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the 2010 Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship.


Panelists on Law and Media: 

Lori Adelman

Lori Adelman is a communications and advocacy officer in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, providing support to partners promoting sexual and reproductive rights and health in Latin America and Africa. She has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, at the International Women’s Health Coalition. Lori is an executive director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships and Outreach. Lori has been with Feministing since 2009, and covers a range of topics including reproductive justice, race, gender, global health and the media. In addition to Feministing, she has written for outlets including The Grio, Rookie Magazine, On The Issues, Salon, RH Reality Check, and Jezebel, and has appeared on NPR and WBAI radio. She received her BA from Harvard College in 2008.


Irin Carmon

Irin Carmon is a journalist and commentator. She’s a national reporter at, covering women, politics, and culture for the website and on air. She is a visiting fellow in the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale Law School. In 2011, she was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in media and featured in New York magazine as a face of young feminism. She received the November 2011 Sidney award from the Sidney Hillman foundation recognizing her reporting on the Mississippi Personhood Initiative for Salon. In 2013, she was honored by NARAL-NY with the Irwin Schneiderman Pioneer Award and by the New York Abortion Access Fund with the Champion for Choice Award.


Jill Filipovic ’08

Jill Filipovic is a lawyer and writer. Well known as a blogger at the popular website Feministe, Filipovic is also a weekly columnist for the Guardian. She has written for Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, the Huffington Post, AlterNet, and the Nation, among other publications. Filipovic served as an editor for AlterNet’s Reproductive Justice and Gender section, and while at NYU Law, she was an editor for the New York University Review of Law and Social Change. She is a contributor to the feminist anthology, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. Jill will lead a panel of new media journalists who offer an overview of reproductive justice issues and challenges in the US.


Jessica Mason Pieklo

Jessica Mason Pieklo is a senior legal analyst at RH Reality Check and the former assistant director of the Health Law Institute at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Pieklo is a former litigator with a background in patients’ rights, medical malpractice, and constitutional law. Pieklo is currently an adjunct professor at Hamline University School of Law where she teaches courses in ethics, business law and health law. At RH Reality Check, Pieklo's work tracks reproductive rights and justice litigation and the politics of the courts. Pieklo has also written on reproductive rights issues for Rolling Stone and AlterNet.