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Distinguished Visitors Lecture Series welcomes Dalhousie Law Professor

Focus on Feminist Futures post-SCOTUS Roe v. Wade rollback

February 1, 2024 — 

Despite generations of citizens fighting for reproductive rights, the subject of Abortion Law is still an active war zone. Invited by the Distinguished Visitors Lecture Series to share her work at Robson Hall, Professor Joanna Erdman from Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law will speak on “Abortion Law Illiberalism & Feminist Futures” on Thursday, February 8 at 12pm.

“Contemporary feminist protest politics are reshaping the field of comparative abortion law,” said Erdman. “While fighting for law reform, abortion rights activists today are part of mass movements and democratic transitions, and ultimately a collective reclaiming of political power.” 

Erdman’s talk is important, especially in the context of recent history including the 2017 Women’s March on Washington after Trump’s inauguration and the Supreme Court of the United States’ overturning of Roe v. Wade, its own 50-year-old decision that had declared the constitutional right to abortion for Americans. With certain States subsequently outlawing abortion, the actions of Canada’s neighbour should be of interest to Canadians. “I always think Canadians need to be on guard against normative pushes from the US,” said Distinguished Visitors Lecture Series organizer, Dr. Katie Szilagyi.

Photo of Professor Joanna Erdman, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.

Professor Joanna Erdman, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.

Erdman holds the MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie Health Justice Institute in Halifax. She has acted as an intervener before various constitutional courts and international bodies and chairs the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Public Health Program. Serving on the advisory board of the Women’s Rights Program, Open Society Foundations, she is a past chair of World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research Gender and Rights Advisory Panel. She holds a JD from the University of Toronto, an LLM from Harvard Law School, and completed a fellowship at Yale Law School. 

Her research focuses on sexual and reproductive health law in a transnational context for which she has received several major research grants including a CIHR Project Grant and a SHRCC Insight Grant. She currently teaches courses in public law, health law, and directs Schulich Law’s International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Practicum. She is a two-time winner of the Hanna & Harold Barnet Award in Teaching First-Year Law at Schulich.

Erdman has edited several texts on health law and abortion law, plus several articles on abortion, harm reduction and social change in law journals including Reproductive Health Matters, the Ottawa Law Review, and the Health and Human Rights Journal.

At the Distinguished Visitors lecture, Erdman will share her current and ongoing work in the area of sexual and reproductive health law.

Erdman is a member of the Law Program Committee, for the national Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), holds a Legal and Human Rights Seat on the Steering Committee for Inroads: International Network for the Reduction of Abortion, and is a member of the Research Protocol Review Panel, Reproductive Health and Research Department, World Health Organization.

The Distinguished Visitors Lecture Series is organized by a committee of UM Faculty of Law professors to augment the educational experience of students, faculty, staff, and members of the local University and Legal community at large. Guest speakers are experts in their respective fields and are renowned nationally and internationally, hailing from near and far. Recordings of past lectures can be viewed on the Robson Hall Youtube Channel.


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