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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

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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.

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