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British Association for American Studies


The Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) next online seminar: Tuesday 17 January 2023, 6-7pm. - British Association for American Studies


The Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW) next online seminar: Tuesday 17 January 2023, 6-7pm.


Please join us for SHAW’s next online seminar on Tuesday 17 January 2023, 6-7pm.

Fiona de Londras (Birmingham Law School) ‘The Patterns and Purposes of Anti-Abortion Legal Experimentalism’.

Abstract: US-based anti-abortion activists have long centred ‘legal experimentalism’ within their practices. In this context, legal experimentalism can be understood as processes and practices of imagining, devising, testing, refining, and (over-time) establishing novel arguments, legal structures, and regulatory approaches in the attempt to construct a maximally-restrictive framework for access to and provision of abortion care. This paper draws on archival and interdisciplinary work to seek to understand the patterns and purposes of anti-abortion legal experimentalism, exploring how it was key to the construction of a legal approach to abortion regulation that has become reified in the anti-abortion imaginary. The paper traces this tactic’s enduring significance in and beyond the USA, and seeks to understand it as part of broad and often transnational anti-progressive movements framed by discourses of rights.

Fiona de Londras is Professor of Global Legal Studies at Birmingham Law School. Her research concerns constitutionalism, human rights, and transnationalism. She is particularly interested in the role and function of rights in contentious policy fields, inquiring into how (if at all) rights shape the making of law and policy in complex contexts of, for example, counter-terrorism, reproductive rights, government and parliamentary responses to COVID-19, and the implementation of international legal standards. Professor de Londras undertakes this through her academic scholarship, public engagement, and advisory work. Her most recent book is The Practice and Problems of Transnational Counter-Terrorism, published by Cambridge University Press in 2022.

Professor de Londras is an editor of the Human Rights Law Review and former editor of the Irish Yearbook of International Law and Legal Studies. She is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Legal Scholars, an affiliate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, and a Senior Associate of the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in the University of Toronto. In 2017 she was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Law. This is supporting her research agenda until the end of 2023.

Attendance is free but you must sign up in advance via