For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Vital Signs CLE: The Comstock Act and Abortion Access

Monday, May 20, 2024

12:00 PM-1:00 PM

In the wake of the Dobbs decision overturning the federal right to abortion, antiabortion advocates have pushed to revive an 1873 law called the Comstock Act to limit access to medication abortion. The statute banned the mailing of obscene materials and items used to prevent conception or produce abortion. Though long-dormant, Comstock has never been repealed. In 2022, the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo interpreting Comstock to require that the sender of abortion-related items intend for them to be used unlawfully, but antiabortion advocates have argued that Comstock should apply broadly to ban the mailing and distribution of mifepristone, one of the two drugs in the medication abortion regimen. During oral arguments in the pending litigation about FDA approval of mifepristone, two Supreme Court justices signaled their openness to interpreting the Comstock Act in this way.

Join us for a Vital Signs webinar with two leading reproductive rights scholars, constitutional law professor David S. Cohen (Drexel Kline Law) and legal historian Mary Ziegler (UC Davis Law), to learn about the history of Comstock and its potential implications for the future of abortion access. Professor Elizabeth R. Kukura (Drexel Kline Law) directs the series and will moderate the discussion.


Free of Charge; 1 Substantive CLE Credit. You’ll receive a Zoom link by email upon registration.

Remind me about this event. Notify me if this event changes. Add this event to my personal calendar.




  • Everyone

Special Features

  • Online Access