Kristin Luker. Neoliberal Abortion

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Neoliberal Abortion

One of the more puzzling political shifts in recent years is the movement of conservative thought and political action in the direction of opposition to contraception and abortion.  Until recently, the Republican Party was the standard-bearer for expansion of these rights (President George H.W. Bush was such an enthusiastic supporter of contraception as a Congressman that he was known as “Rubbers” Bush.)  The presentation, a chapter from a forthcoming book, unpacks this political sea change as a way of exploring changes in the larger political and social culture of American society.


Until her recent retirement, Kristin Luker was Professor of Sociology and the Elizabeth Boalt  Professor of Law. She is the author of many scholarly articles, as well as six books: Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept(1975), Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (1984) Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy (1996) When Sex Goes to School (2006) and Salsa Dancing Into the Social Sciences, (2008).  This year she published a casebook (with Melissa Murray) on the emerging field of reproductive justice and the law.

Professor Luker has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Sociological Research Association, and was invited to the White House by President Clinton to discuss issues of politics and social policy. She has been awarded grants from the Spencer and Ford Foundations, as well as the Commonwealth Fund, and has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her book Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Her interests include sexual and reproductive behavior, gender, and the relationship between gender and the history of the social sciences in the United States and elsewhere.  She plans to spend her retirement working on a book on the new politics of motherhood, and doing research and advocacy in the Center on Reproductive Rights And Justice (, which she founded.