Paula Monopoli

Document Type



This Article applies the concept of constitutional memory to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to dispute the dominant view that the case was unique in erasing a constitutional right. It offers three examples—voting, Prohibition, and protective labor legislation—to illustrate how situating Dobbs within an expansive view of feminist legal history teaches us that it is not the only—just the most recent—example of the Court’s eroding or erasing previously recognized legal protections or rights that had a positive impact on women’s lives. It concludes that Congress, the Supreme Court, and the People themselves have been more likely to erase or erode a legal or constitutional right that has a disproportionately positive effect on women’s lives. By adopting a broader view of constitutional history, advocates can more effectively respond to Dobbs’ implications for reproductive self-determination.