Legal Momentum has long advocated for women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare.
We use the power of the law to assert the three rights central to reproductive justice: the right to have a child, the right to not have a child, and the right to parent your child in a safe and sustainable community*. Access to reproductive justice is critical to a woman's ability to make decisions about her body, her family, and her future. Following the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned the constitutional right to abortion, Legal Momentum is re-focusing and expanding our work on reproductive justice.
Legal Impact Strategies
Legal Momentum has a long history of leading, and joining, amicus briefs protecting the right to reproductive freedom. We have appeared as amici in every leading reproductive rights case, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022), June Medical Services v. Gee (2019), Whole Women's Health v. Cole (2016), and Webster v. Reproductive Health Service (1989). Most recently, we led an amicus brief in Yashica Robinson MD v. Steven Marshall et al., arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic could not be used as a reason for severely restricting abortion access. Our brief focused on the history of violence and harassment against abortion providers aided by the government machinery and the disproportionate impact of abortion restrictions on victims of domestic and sexual violence and women of color. We've also appeared on briefs related to the right to contraception and the right to be protected from pregnancy discrimination in the workforce under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Since the 1980s Legal Momentum has brought groundbreaking litigation seeking to protect access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare, including several cases protecting access to clinics by upholding fixed buffer zones and other reasonable limitations on protestors (Pro Choice Network v. Schenck), seeking justice against those who commit violence at clinics (NOW v. Terry), and state laws imposing burdensome regulations amounting to restricted access (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists v. Thornburgh).
Resources Related to Reproductive Rights
Legal Momentum knows that access to abortion is critical to a pregnant person's ability to make decisions about their own body and their future. Abortion is essential healthcare and a fundamental human right. We know abortion bans will not eliminate abortion, they will simply make it harder, and potentially less safe, for people to access reproductive healthcare. Lack of access to the full range of reproductive healthcare will contribute to the US's already inexcusable maternal mortality rate. Following the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, Legal Momentum compiled a list of resources to assist any person, regardless of where they live, with information about accessing abortion and other reproductive healthcare services.
Our Women Valued Initiative, which works to center the economic needs of the most vulnerable women, including women of color, immigrant women, and women in low-wage work, has always included a focus on the unique needs of pregnant and parenting workers. Our Working Woman's Bill of Rights, Legal Toolkit for Women's Economic Equality, and Women, Know Your Rights at Work! resources all include sections on reproductive and maternal healthcare, as well as workplace rights of pregnant and parenting employees. Additionally, we know in the post Roe landscape that our work on pay equity, paid family leave, and affordable childcare are more important than ever as people without access to abortion are now forced into parenthood.
Nonconsensual Drug Testing of Pregnant Patients
Governmental intrusion into the lives of pregnant people extends beyond restricting access to reproductive healthcare. Nonconsensual drug testing of pregnant patients is a discriminatory practice that unfairly impacts the most vulnerable, particularly low income women and people of color, exposing pregnant people to criminalization and depriving them of their right to parent their children. We've created a series of Know Your Rights fact sheets that provide pregnant people with baseline information about the harms and potential consequences of non-consensual drug testing, their rights as a pregnant person seeking healthcare, and ways to take action if they have been subjected to this practice. We also represent a small number of clients who have been non-consensually drug tested and faced child welfare investigations. You can read our client's story published in New York Magazine here. For inquiries into how to access legal assistance, please contact our Helpline.
Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994
Legal Momentum drafted and advocated for the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in 1994 to protect people from physical intimidation, threats, and violence as they sought reproductive health services, including abortion. When FACE was signed into law, escalating physical violence outside of clinics was a major threat to those seeking and providing reproductive healthcare, violating the constitutional right to access abortion services guaranteed at the time by Roe v. Wade. FACE has been tremendously effective in reducing the incidence of obstructive protests and violence outside facilities that provide reproductive health services, such as birth control and abortion. We have defended the constitutionality of FACE before federal courts across the country.
*This definition is provided by SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective