The Failure of Dobbs: The Entanglement of Abortion Bans, Criminalized Pregnancies, and Forced Family Separation

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization spotlights the entanglement of abortion bans, criminalization of pregnancy, and family separation, which Roe failed to address. After Dobbs, we can see more clearly a right-wing strategy of reproductive control that includes not only abortion laws that compel pregnant people to give birth, but also a broader criminalization of people who give birth to and raise children. Especially telling is how the Court’s attention to adoption ties together these forms of reproductive violence. Its rosy recommendation of adoption as a remedy for abortion paints a false picture of both reproductive servitude’s history and the child welfare system’s current operation. Black feminists have developed a reproductive justice framework that includes the human right not to have a child, to have a child, and to raise children in safe and supportive communities—a framework made more urgent than ever by Dobbs.


reproductive control, criminalization of pregnancy, right-wing strategy, family separation, reproductive servitude, child welfare system, reproductive violence, Black feminists, reproductive justice

Publication Title

Roe v. Dobbs: The Past, Present, and Future of a Constitutional Right to Abortion