Collaborating for reproductive rights: The importance of law school clinics and academic support - The University of Tulsa
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Collaborating for reproductive rights: The importance of law school clinics and academic support

Law school faculty and deans from across the country recently convened in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). With the timely theme of “Defending Democracy,” this conference was particularly relevant in an election year as our nation grapples with pressing issues of extremism, anti-Semitism, racism, violence against LGBTQ+ individuals, and political unrest.

University of Tulsa Law Professors Janet Levit and Mimi Marton spoke on the panel “Collaborating to Defend Democracy in Communities Under Attack” and shared their research on reproductive rights in conservative states. The topic sparked fervent interest among attendees from all corners of the country, filling the room with hundreds of eager listeners.

Photograph of Janet K. Levit
Janet Levit

In today’s political climate, reproductive rights, particularly in socially conservative states, remain a contentious issue. Levit and Marton presented a collaborative discussion on the critical role of academia in tackling the challenges faced by communities with conservative laws and policies.
Levit emphasized the importance of replicating their model of doctrine and clinic work, which provides practical solutions. “Our practicum takes a comprehensive approach to reproductive rights, covering both the legal principles and the practical skills necessary for students to become advocates for vulnerable communities,” she said.

Photo of Mimi Marton inside of the Lorton Performance Center building.
Mimi Marton

Marton highlighted the need to develop a nuanced approach for positive resolutions. “We recognize that cultural norms can close the door on valuable conversations and ultimately protocols that impact this area of the legal landscape. Our aim is to use the model and the results from our current model of reproductive life training to build a more comprehensive educational experience in the TU Law curriculum,” she explained.

The AALS conference served as a platform to network and to engage in dynamic discussions regarding groundbreaking rulings and strategic initiatives that shape the future of legal education and the legal field. “As educators of future lawyers, it is vital that we equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed to protect and uphold our democracy,” said TU Law Dean Oren R. Griffin. “This conference provides a platform for us to come together and strategize ways in which we can advance this important work.”