Join the Conversation: Why Abortion Is Essential to Democracy—and Democracy Is Essential for Reproductive Justice

The fight for abortion rights, for equality, and for representative democracy are all in service of the same goal: justice for all.

Last November, Ms. partnered with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law to create a ground-breaking microsite: “Abortion Is Essential to Democracy.” As Jezebel reported about it: “A think tank that focuses on voting rights, money in politics and the criminal justice system is for the first time highlighting how attacks on democracy have led to the biggest threat to abortion access since the Roe v. Wade decision almost 50 years ago.” A powerful NowThis op-doc video accompanied the essay series published on the site.

Our two organizations initiated the project immediately after Texas law S.B. 8 went into effect and following the Supreme Court’s first (of many to come) egregious ruling allowing its enforcement. Experts from across the Brennan Center articulated a response to reflect on the myriad demo­cratic dysfunc­tions that have helped erode abortion rights in Amer­ica. 


Now we are following up with a live discussion co-hosted by Ms. and the Brennan Center, along with NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network. Panelists will dig deep on key questions raised in the series:

  • How should we consid­er parallel affronts to participation and representation—the wave of voting restrictions and outsize role of big money in polit­ics?
  • Can we look to state courts to provide new avenues in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling?
  • What are the legal and soci­etal impacts of crim­in­al­iz­ing preg­nancy and abor­tion, espe­cially on communit­ies of color?

Sign up here to register for this special event streaming from NPR’s studio in New York City on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

We look forward to having a robust virtual audience and a timely conversation about why abortion is essential to democracy—and democracy is essential for reproductive justice.   

As we remarked in the original series: “By formally joining our voices, we hope to demonstrate that the fight for abortion rights, the fight for equality, and the fight for representative democracy are all in service of the same goal: justice for all.”


This Brennan Center for Justice event is produced in partnership with NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network and Ms. magazine.

Opening Remarks

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, fellow, Brennan Center for Justice; executive director for partnerships and strategy, Ms. magazine


Michele Bratcher Goodwin, chancellor’s professor of law, University of California, Irvine; executive producer, Ms. Studios and “On the Issues” podcast


  • Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes professor of law, NYU Law; faculty director, Birnbaum Women’s Law Network; member, Brennan Center Board of Directors
  • Lourdes Rivera, senior vice president, U.S. programs, Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Monica Raye Simpson, executive director, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Closing Remarks

Kathy Spillar, executive editor, Ms. magazine; executive director, Feminist Majority Foundation

RSVP here.

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.

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Jennifer Weiss-Wolf is the executive director of Ms. partnerships and strategy. A lawyer, fierce advocate and frequent writer on issues of gender, feminism and politics in America, Weiss-Wolf has been dubbed the “architect of the U.S. campaign to squash the tampon tax” by Newsweek. She is the author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity, which was lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all,” and is a contributor to Period: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth. She is also the executive director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center at NYU Law. Find her on Twitter: @jweisswolf.