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WiSH Seminar Series - Katie Watson, JD

WiSH Seminar Series - Katie Watson, JD

February 1, 2023 - Noon Central

Professor Katie Watson
Associate Professor of Medical Education, Medical Social Sciences, and Ob/Gyn
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Author - Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law and Politics of Ordinary Abortion (Oxford 2018)


Are Women Still People Under the Constitution? Reproductive Justice, Women's Personhood, and the Contemporary Abortion Debate


RFUMS Students, Faculty & Staff are welcome to join us on campus. External guest are welcome to join us via Zoom Webinar.

After the Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade our focus has been on state bans of abortion provision. After reviewing the current landscape in abortion care, Professor Watson will shift our gaze to the unspoken premise of the Dobbs decision, which is that women are not “people” protected by the Constitution. She will analyze how we got here by exploring the historically recent construction of women’s legal and social personhood in the U.S. and considering the relationship between abortion rights and women’s personhood. Then Professor Watson will explain why she thinks reproductive justice is the most useful intellectual and advocacy framework for moving forward.  

Katie Watson, JD is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, where she is an award-winning teacher of medical ethics, medical humanities, and constitutional law. Her articles on abortion ethics and practice have appeared in publications including NEJM, JAMA, The Lancet, and The New Yorker, and she is the author of Scarlet A: The Ethics, Law, and Politics of Ordinary Abortion (2018 OUP) which was described as “revolutionary” by the New York Times and was recommended in its “Ten Books to Understand the Abortion Debate in the United States” list. Professor Watson is a member of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee, the Ethics Committee of the International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics (FIGO), the Board of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), and the Planned Parenthood National Medical Council (PPFA-NMC), and she is a former member of the Editorial Board of the AMA Journal of Ethics, and the Board of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH).