College of Law

39th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate – The Post-Dobbs Landscape: States’ Abortion Shield Laws

39th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate - The Post-Dobbs Landscape: States’ Abortion Shield Laws

DATE: Monday, October 17 2022
TIME: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm MST
LOCATION: College of Law and Virtual Event

Free parking in the Rice-Eccles stadium lot.

COST: Free and open to the public.
1 hour CLE (pending).

39th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate

Be it resolved that states’ abortion “shield laws” run contrary to principles of U.S. federalism and constitutional law

5:30 p.m. – Reception
6:00 p.m. – Debate & Q&A


The post-Dobbs landscape: states’ abortion shield laws

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization held that abortion was not a constitutionally protected right under the Due Process Clause, and, in the absence of federal constitutional protection, state laws now govern access to abortion from the earliest stages of pregnancy. Whereas some states have passed laws severely restricting or banning abortion, other states have passed “shield laws”—laws which protect abortion providers from civil and criminal liabilities stemming from abortion care provided to out-of-state residents. Proponents of abortion shield laws argue that such laws are necessary to assure in-state abortion providers that they will not be penalized by another state for providing care to residents from those states. Shield laws, they argue, are a constitutionally permitted way to provide safety from prosecution under the laws of another state. Opponents of shield laws may counter that such laws undermine U.S. notions of comity and federalism as well as test constitutional principles underpinning states’ sovereignty over its own citizens.

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will host a debate to consider the consequences of states’ abortion shield laws to federalism and the U.S. constitution.


The Fordham Debate is named in honor of Professor Jefferson B. Fordham, an outstanding legal scholar and defender of individual and civil rights who joined the University of Utah College of Law faculty in 1972. The annual debate addresses relevant contemporary public policy and legal issues.



Rachel Rebouche, Dean, Temple University Law School
Rachel Rebouché is the Dean and James E. Beasley Professor of Law at the Temple University School of Law. She is also a Faculty Fellow at Temple’s Center for Public Health Law Research and a leading scholar in family law, public health, and reproductive health law. Prior to her appointment as Dean, she served as Interim Dean for one year and was the Associate Dean for Research for four years. Dean Rebouché is the author or editor of seven books, the author of dozens of articles in law reviews and peer edited journals, and a frequent contributor to national publications and media outlets in her areas of expertise.

Dean Rebouché received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an LL.M. from Queen’s University, Belfast, and a B.A. from Trinity University. Prior to law school, she worked as a researcher for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast. After law school, Dean Rebouché clerked for Justice Kate O’Regan on the Constitutional Court of South Africa and practiced law in Washington, D.C., where she served as an associate director of adolescent health programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families (formerly, the Women’s Legal Defense Fund) and as a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center.


Charlie Silver, Professor of Law, University of Texas Law School
Charles Silver holds the Roy W. and Eugenia C. McDonald Endowed Chair in Civil Procedure at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. His research focuses on aggregate lawsuits (including class actions and other mass proceedings), attorneys’ fees (including contractual compensation arrangements, common fund fee awards, and statutory fee awards), professional responsibility (focusing on lawyers involved in civil litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants), and health care law and policy (with an emphasis on the payment system). For over a decade, he worked with a group of empirical researchers on studies of medical malpractice litigation in Texas.  He served as an Associate Reporter on the Principles of Aggregate Litigation, which the American Law Institute published in 2010.  His recent books are Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much For Health Care (Cato Inst. 2018), coauthored with David A. Hyman, and Medical Malpractice Litigation: How It Works—Why Tort Reform Hasn’t Helped (Cato Inst. 2021), coauthored with Bernard S. Black, David A. Hyman, Myungho Paik, and William M. Sage. 


Directions and Parking

  • TRAX – Take TRAX Red University Line to the Rice Eccles Stadium Stop.
  • Parking – Please park at an available A or U permit parking space in the Rice Eccles Stadium parking lot.

For questions about this event email

SUBSCRIBE to the S.J. Quinney College of Law event lists to stay current on upcoming College of Law events. You may unsubscribe at anytime.

The S.J. Quinney College of Law is pleased to provide free CLE opportunities for attorneys. All donations welcome to support our programs.