Sexual and reproductive rights are lightening-rods of controversy in most societies. Political polarization has been particularly pronounced with regard to abortion rights and rights of sexual minorities, but is also evident in issues such as the regulation of contraception, sterilization and adultery, divorce, sexual education and stem cell research. A new project will explore the growing judicialization of sexual and reproductive rights around the world.
At the domestic and international level, courts have emerged as central arenas in these political-moral battles; and not only to further rights but also to limit them. The proposed project aims to understand the nature, causes and, particularly, the consequences of such lawfare, which we define as diverse and intentional strategies adopted by civil society actors that seek to engage legal institutions in order to further or halt policy reform and social change.
In doing so, we seek to understand how the effects of lawfare are linked to its nature and causes, within broader institutional, political dynamics, social and cultural contexts. Thereby we aim to advance – conceptually, methodologically and empirically – the broader field of socio-legal studies concerned with law and social transformation.