May 2023: Bill of Rights III: The Constitution, Reproductive Rights, and Abortion

Please join us in May 2023 for a Virtual Reading Group with Steve Ealy


Pre-registration is required, and we ask you to register only if you can be present for ALL sessions. All readings are available online. Participants who successfully complete ALL sessions will be eligible to receive an Amazon e-gift certificate.



One of the contentious issues during the debate over the ratification of the Constitution was the absence of a Bill of Rights. One of the arguments made by opponents of adding a Bill of Rights was that any right which was inadvertently omitted would be considered to not be a right at all. To allay this concern, a catchall amendment, which became the Ninth Amendment, was included in the adopted Bill of Rights. It reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Over the last six decades questions involving reproductive rights have found their way to the Supreme Court. In this virtual reading group we will examine what the Federalist Papers says about both the role of the judiciary and the need for a Bill of Rights. We will also examine six opinions of the Supreme Court dealing with reproductive rights, beginning with Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Roe v. Wade (1973) and running through Dobbs (2022).


Session I: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, The Ninth Amendment and Reproductive Rights

U.S. Constitution

The Bill of Rights

Constitutional Amendments (XI-XXVII)

Federalist 78 and 84

Griswold v. Connecticut (1973)

Session II: Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, Abortion as a Constitutional Right

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989)

Session III: Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, Roe Upheld

Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation [Carhart II] (2007)

Session IV: Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, Roe Overruled

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022)


Virtual Reading Groups