Academic Calendar 2023-2024

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LAW 516 Sexuality & Reproductive Justice

LAW 516  Sexuality & Reproductive Justice  Units: 3.00  

This course will examine sexual and reproductive rights, domestically and globally. The concept of sexual and reproductive rights cuts across many legal doctrines such as family law, property, health law, criminal law, immigration, human rights, and constitutional law. A fulsome account of sexual and reproductive justice includes access to fertility treatment, pre- and post-natal care, contraception, pregnancy termination, genetic counseling, quality childcare, and the freedom to choose when and how one participates in sexual activity and expresses one's sexual identity. Yet, in pubic and political discussions, especially those driven by domestic and global initiatives of the United States, attention is often focused primarily on abortion. This course will begin by asking why abortion occupies a central place in sexual and reproductive rights campaigns. We will examine how the reproductive justice movement, a term popularized by American women of colour in the 1990s, has transformed reproductive advocacy by challenging the limits of law and the narrowness of the abortion right. Focusing specifically on Canada, we will consider how feminists in this country long considered abortion access to be integrally tied to other forms of emancipation including workplace equality, economic justice, and affordable childcare. This part of the course will address the abortion question through an interdisciplinary examination of historical, sociological, and public health articles as well as legal cases, literature, and film. After de-centering abortion in the sexual and reproductive justice field, we will use a case-study approach in each class to examine the following issues: sexual consent; adolescent parenting; sterilization (with a focus on the coercive sterilization of Indigenous women); male reproductive decision-making; the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, particularly HIV/AIDS; conscientious objection by medical providers; and transgender medical care. Some of the questions this course will consider are: What are the legal doctrines that constitute reproductive and sexual rights, and in being so constructed, what actions do they enable and constrain? What role has the Supreme Court of Canada played in constructing elite and popular debates? Why is abortion so central? How do moral and normative ideas about sex and sexuality inform the legal regulation of abortion, contraception, and parenting? And finally, how have Canadian governments and society regulated sex and reproduction differently along lines of age, class, migration, and Indigeneity? Cross listed with LAW 907.

Offering Faculty: Faculty of Law  


The graduate law program at Queen’s University offers to students from Canada and from countries around the world an intellectually rich and challenging environment for legal learning and scholarship.  Queen’s offers two graduate degrees in law:

Law (LAW)

LL.M. and Ph.D. students must enroll in  LAW 880  Legal Research Methods and Perspectives  and  LAW 881  Graduate Adv. Legal Research  in their first year of studies.  

Academic Programs

...Studies Plans) LAW 202 (Political Studies Plans) LAW 201 (Gender Studies Plans) LAW 516 (Certificate...