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UC Berkeley Scholars’ New Tome: ‘Reproductive Justice’

A new casebook released in November is attempting to define a new legal field to be taught at law schools: “reproductive justice.”

UC Berkeley Law professors Melissa Murray and Kristin Luker wrote the gargantuan 919-page tome, which features a history of cases that defined the feminist movement, including Roe vs. Wade, Griswold vs. Connecticut, and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, as well as anecdotes relating how women challenged the prevailing mores to change society.

The book titled, Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, is, according to the Los Angeles Times, “the first legal textbook to focus on sex, marriage, contraception, pregnancy, birth and parenting.”

Luker, who founded the Berkeley Law Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice in 2013, gave an example to the Times, regarding whether it was fair for the state of California to tell mothers on welfare that they would not receive more funding from the state if they had more children. She intoned, “Reproductive justice, suggests that having a baby is just as important as the right not to have a baby.”

Jill Adams, executive director of the Berkeley Law Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, boasted, “The publication of this book signals the legitimacy of the subject matter as an area of study, and also as an area of practice. In legal education, these cases and concepts are given very short shrift. It’s a victory to have this subject matter encased in that familiar blue binding on the shelf alongside all the other well-established courses.”

Luker herself bragged, “It’s not an accident that two women scholars wrote this book. I always say, this is why the ancients made Cassandra a woman. She foresaw the future and nobody believed her.” Luker apparently isn’t interested in the future of the unborn; she once wrote, “While on the surface it is the embryo’s fate that seems to be at stake, the abortion debate is actually about the meaning of women’s lives.”

A group called Law Students for Reproductive Justice, based in Oakland, spent years putting together an electronic syllabus and sent it to numerous law schools while pushing for the issue to become part of the law curriculum.

Adams began working on the book eight years ago, according to the Times, when she ran the student group. She told the Times: “I began cold calling professors around the country and they all said the same thing: ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! Do you know how much work it is to write a casebook?'”

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