What if the seminal case on reproductive freedom had been Struck v. Secretary of Defense instead of Roe v. Wade?
February 21, 2012 2:34 PM   Subscribe

"This is an attempt at recovery. This Essay hopes to call attention to then-Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1972 merits brief in Struck v. Secretary of Defense. The brief has been underappreciated in part because the Supreme Court of the United States eventually declined to decide the case.” On the 40th anniversary of the brief's submission, read Reva Siegel's compelling essay [pdf] on this overlooked brief in which “Ginsburg and the women’s movement talked about pregnancy discrimination in a way that ties together pregnancy discrimination and women’s equality, and women’s equality and reproductive freedom, before the Court split them apart,” and imagine what might have been had the Supreme Court decided Struck v. Secretary of Defense in 1972.
posted by ocherdraco (3 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Most interesting, thank you. One gets used to reading opinions, and sometimes overlooks advocacy as a source of excellent legal writing.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:35 PM on February 21, 2012

I loved this quote from Ginsburg's brief: "presumably well-meaning exaltation of woman’s unique role in bearing children has, in effect, denied women equal opportunity to develop their individual talents and capacities and has impelled them to accept a dependent, subordinate status in society." This could have been written today!
posted by facetious at 7:12 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Very interesting article. On the one hand, we have come some way: the idea that the military could oblige an officer to have an abortion or leave the service would be nearly universally rejected in 2012. But we still have a long way to go, and what Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote 40 years ago is still sadly on-point today:

“legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.”

The attacks on Planned Parenthood, the Girl Scouts, and contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act share a common thread: relegating women to second-class status.

posted by ambrosia at 10:16 AM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

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