Monday, November 5, 2012

Debate Wednesday on Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Liberty

We are co-sponsoring this debate with the Fordham chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society:
We are pleased to inform you of our next event!! The event will be a debate and will be Wednesday November 7, from 4:00-5:30 PM in the Moot Court Room. DELUXE KOSHER CHINESE BUFFET WILL BE SERVED!
Title: "Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Liberty"

The debaters will be:

Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, Adjunct Scholar at the CATO Institute, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, and a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute  
and Bridgette Dunlap, Human Rights Fellow at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, former Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, former President of Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and recipient of the Eugene J. Keefe Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the Fordham community
The debate is at Fordham Law School, 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023 and is open to the public.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prescribe Fordham 2!: Fordham’s Off-Campus Birth Control Clinic Night Returns

Attendees must RSVP at this link!

Prescribe Fordham 2!:  Fordham’s Off-Campus Birth Control Clinic Night Returns

On October 24th from 6:00 to 9:30, a coalition of Fordham University student groups and academic departments will hold a birth control clinic and sexual health fair blocks from the school’s Lincoln Center campus, at the John Jay College Conference Center at 524 W. 59th Street.

Fordham University prohibits medical providers at its health centers from prescribing birth control and has an unwritten policy forbidding the distribution of condoms on campus.  Fordham attributes these policies to its Catholic-affiliation. Though Fordham receives New York State funding on the basis of representations that it is non-denominational, medical care at Fordham is governed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

At Prescribe Fordham 2!, students can consult with uncensored doctors from the Institute for Family Health about reproductive health and disease prevention.  After a medical screening and blood pressure check, the Family Institute doctors can prescribe contraceptives to students or advise them about long-acting contraceptive methods. 

Fordham student insurance covers contraceptives as required by the New York Women’s Health and Wellness Act.  Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), students with Fordham insurance can receive a gynecological exam off-campus from a medical provider who is under no religiously-based constraints without paying a co-payment.  While this is a significant improvement for our insured students, access to contraception remains a problem for Fordham students who lack insurance (an estimated 35% according to the administration) or a doctor in New York.  The Fordham health center policies are particularly problematic for students at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus due to the prevalence of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” in the Bronx, which present themselves as family planning clinics but do not provide contraception or medical care and are known to advertise on campus.  

Fordham administrators and health center staff assert there is a health exception to the prescription ban, but in practice students have been turned away even with records of serious medical conditions. The administration has declined to explain what conditions justify treatment, of what severity, and who makes this determination.  Many students seek health services at Planned Parenthood, taking up resources needed by uninsured and low-income patients.

Prescribe Fordham 2! is a way for members of the Fordham community to work around the expense and inconvenience that result from the University’s policies and make unknowing students aware that the University provides non-standard healthcare.  It is also an opportunity to discuss the significant influence on women’s health of Catholic leaders outside the Catholic mainstream.  

The event is sponsored by the Fordham Chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Fordham OUTlaws, The Institute for Women and Girls at the Graduate School of Social Service, The Women's Studies Department at Lincoln Center, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lincoln Center, and the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, the Women’s Center at John Jay College and the Reproductive Health Access Project.  It is also open to students of John Jay College, the New York Institute of Technology, Seton Hall University, and St. John’s University. Students of other schools who wish to attend should email

For more information, email or visit

Attendees must RSVP  here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prescribe Fordham II!

UPDATE:  See the new post with current information here.  

Mark your calendars for Prescribe Fordham 2012!  Our second (annual?) birth control clinic and sexual health fair, where students will be able to meet with doctors from the Institute for Family Health, receive birth control prescriptions and condoms, and discuss their health and access to care.

Wednesday, October 24th
John Jay College Conference Center
524 West 59th Street

The Fordham health centers will not prescribe birth control.  If you are in need of a prescription,  you can meet with a doctor from the Institute for Family Health who can conduct a medical screening and prescribe contraception.  

Watch this space for updates and information on free transportation from Fordham's Rose Hill campus.  This event is also open to students of John Jay College and the New York Institute of Technology.

You must RSVP here.

Special thanks to the Women's Center at John Jay College and the Reproductive Health Access Project!

Sponsored by Law Students for Reproductive Justice, The Institute for Women and Girls at the Graduate School of Social Services, The Women's Studies Department at Lincoln Center, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lincoln Center, and the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law.

Email with questions, suggestions, or to share your story.

You can read about last year's clinic here, herehere, and here.

The Contraceptive Coverage Lawsuits

Fordham LSRJ alum Bridgette Dunlap looks at the thirty lawsuits challenging the HHS contraceptive mandate here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Notre Dame Students Petition Asks University to Drop Complaint

Check out the awesome activism done by Notre Dame students with their petition here.  They make some great arguments, and question whether providing contraception would violate the university's conscience.

Link via RH Reality Check

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reproductive Justice Link Clickys!

Here's some awesome reading for the rest of your summer break!  Enjoy!

Recent Fordham grad Bridgette Dunlap wrote an article on why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops argument about religious freedom is a lie.

And then she followed that up with more discussion of the USCCB's demonstrably false statement regarding the contraception mandate.

This a great article from the National Women's Law Center about information students should know about women's health services in the health care act that went into effect on August 1st.

This excellent video done by the L.A. Times describes the situation in the Philippines, where contraception is inaccessible by the poor, and how that affects families.  (Click on the fifth video, but each is insightful.)

Friday, July 13, 2012


Graduation was amazing.  I was so honored to receive the Eugene J. Keefe Memorial Award for outstanding contributions and service to the Fordham community along with Mike Zimmerman.  Here's the video of us accepting the award (I was unexpectedly crazy nervous). The extended draft of my remarks (had to cut for time) is below. 
I'm so grateful to LSRJ and everyone who supported us. And incredibly proud to be a Fordham Law grad!

I am very honored to be recognized with the Keefe Award and we share it with everyone here who has worked to make Fordham a better place.
Catholic-affiliated institutions like ours have been in the news quite a bit this year, and they have often been portrayed in ways that don’t reflect the Fordham Law experience. At Fordham , we value diverse perspectives and respect principled disagreement. We work for equality and believe the law protects it. We are a community that welcomes people of all faiths or no faith, all races, heritages, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations.  Where we could be more welcoming of difference, we have worked to educated each other and improve.

The invocation today may have been the first time you’ve heard a prayer  in your time at Fordham, but it is important to realize that even if we are Jewish, Muslim, or atheist – we are all Catholic school kids now. As such, we have a shared responsibility to make Catholic institutions a force for good and to see that fact is understood in the world.

Earlier this year I heard the undergraduate student body president of Fordham college at Lincoln Center tell his peers that “As students of a Jesuit institution, we are called to be bothered by injustice.” I will add that as Fordham lawyers, graduates of a law school “In the Service of Others,” we are called to remedy the injustice we see.

I know that we will continue to bring the Fordham Law spirit of service to firms and organizations throughout the world.  I hope that as we tackle big problems, we refuse to tolerate the seemingly little injustices as well; that we are mindful of how our power and privilege, which will only increase with the degrees we receive today, can insulate us from their effects. 

When the farmshare shut down, we could have gotten our organic vegetables elsewhere.  It didn't make sense that we had to, but more importantly those vegetables were missed by members of our community at St. Paul’s soup kitchen next door, who don't have the same options we do. 

What may have been a relatively minor practical obstacle to accessing contraceptives for a law student can be something else entirely for an 18-year-old who has just moved to the Bronx. Furthermore, that hurdle, though manageable, has larger implications for the equal participation of women in society and the workforce.  We are called to be bothered and to act - so we did.

I feel extremely fortunate for the education I’ve received from my excellent professors and my peers at Fordham and I look forward to all of our continued contributions to the Fordham community and to our field.

Thank you.