Abortion Advocacy at the State Level

Alumna Elisabeth Smith, director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, on how the SCOTUS decision on Dobbs affects human rights across the country and what states and individuals can do.

In 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee to personal liberty does not include the right to abortion and returned the power to regulate abortion to individual states. Justice Samuel Alito said in the Court’s majority opinion that the decision in Dobbs v. The Jackson Women's Health Organization would end the abortion controversy once and for all. However, in overruling both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, an unprecedented new landscape interfering with human rights has emerged, factors which intersect with rights related to environmental justice, contraception, marriage equality and private sexual conduct, among others.

In this episode of the Discovery podcast, we address the new “patchwork quilt” of state legislation on abortion with UW Law alumna Elisabeth Smith, the director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She recently visited her alma mater to give students in the 1L Perspectives class series an overview of how the Dobbs decision affects the terrain for reproductive justice across the country.

Elisabeth Smith is director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, where she was formerly Chief Counsel starting in 2018. She moved to New York from Washington state where she was legislative director for the ACLU. She graduated from Davidson College and the University of Washington School of Law.

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