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Reproductive Rights

Introduction to Reproductive Rights

The term "reproductive rights" refers to an individual and/or couple’s legal right to access information and services concerning an individual’s sexual health.  This includes information regarding contraceptives, abortion, fertility treatment, and childbirth.  The law surrounding reproductive rights in the United States is highly contested at both the Federal and state levels.  Most recently, the Supreme Court is deliberating a reversal of the abortion protections offered by Roe v. Wade in its current case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022).  On June 24, 2022, the Court released it's opinion in Dobbs, overruling Roe and Casey and removing the federal right to abortion.

Although the scope of reproductive rights and the law is expansive, this legal research guide provides legal research information surrounding abortion and contraception. The resources provided are available through the Emory Libraries system or open access. 

Supreme Court Decision Overrules Roe

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court issued a formal opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which centered on a Mississippi law baring most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a violation of the standard set in Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court upheld the Mississippi law and overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The published opinion (slip law) is available to read online or as a PDF download below. 

This decision comes down over a month after Politico released a leaked draft of the Supreme Court's Dobbs opinion on May 2, 2022. The leaked draft is available to read online or as a PDF download below. 

Legal News Coverage:

  • SCOTUS Blog, Supreme Court Overturns Roe
  • Law360, Supreme Court Overturns Roe
  • ABA Journal, Supreme Court Overturns Roe and the right to abortion
  • Bloomberg Law, Supreme Court Overturns Roe
  • Bloomberg Law, Supreme Court Justices Disagree on Scope of Dobbs
  • Guttmacher Institute, Abortion after Roe: New Comprehensive Map Tracks Abortion Policies and Statistics for Each State

Executive Branch Response: 

On July 8, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order protecting access to reproductive healthcare services. The order aims to safeguard access to abortion care and contraceptives, protect patient privacy, and establish an interagency task force between the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.  

The Biden Administration seeks to establish guidelines in the areas of interstate travel and medication sales, patient privacy, and emergency treatment:

Emory Law Protest Guide:

Those protesting the ruling in Dobbs may check out Emory Law Library's Protest Resource guide. Although the guide focuses on the protests surrounding George Floyd's murder in 2020, this resource includes general protest support and safety information.

Majority of court appears poised to roll back abortion rights - SCOTUSblog

Guide Authorship and Currency

Originally published June 22, 2022 by Andy Stamm.

Updated July 8, 2022 by Erin Grimes.