Skip to main content

MICHELLE OBERMAN, Santa Clara University

  • When: March 8, 2017, 12 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor, Lakeside, Chicago IL 60611

Calendar event Add this event to your calendar (Outlook, iCal, etc…)

Chapter Two: Assessing the Impact of El Salvador’s Abortion Ban

In 1998, El Salvador passed a law banning abortion under all circumstances. Until that point in time, abortion was illegal except in cases involving risks to maternal life, severe fetal anomaly, and rape or incest. Since then, El Salvador has worked to enforce its ban, mounting an intensive effort to identify and prosecute those who violate the law. This chapter explores what happened when abortion was completely outlawed in El Salvador.  The evidence shows us that three things occurred: (1) abortion remained commonplace—rates did not drop even though it was illegal; (2) doctors become involved in law enforcement; and (3) innocent women were accused and convicted of abortion-related crimes. These three systems--the black market, healthcare, and criminal justice--all yield measurable consequences of the ban on abortion. After exploring each of these trends, this chapter considers the implications of El Salvador's experience here in the U.S.

Chapter Two: Assessing the Impact of El Salvador’s Abortion Ban

Michelle Oberman is the Katharine and George Alexander Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law. Professor Oberman is a nationally recognized scholar on the legal and ethical issues surrounding adolescence, pregnancy, and motherhood. She works at the intersection of health law and criminal law, focusing on domestic and international issues. Oberman is active in the academic community, lecturing on health law concerns to a wide variety of audiences, ranging from law school faculties to health care professionals to community-based interest groups.

Oberman received a Fulbright research grant to Chile for spring 2011. In addition to teaching in Valpariaso, she worked on issues pertaining to women’s reproductive health and the law. Her recent book, When Mothers Kill (2008), won the Outstanding Book Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. Professor Oberman joined the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty in 2004.

Photo and bio courtesy of Santa Clara University School of Law.

« Return to ABF Research Seminars

Site design by Webitects

© 2018 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.