Title IX’s Reproductive Remedies

Cocuzza, Francesca

Despite the rich public debate surrounding sexual assault at colleges and universities, the problem of pregnancy among survivors has received little attention. At the same time, institutions of higher education continue to resist compliance with federal law mandating insurance coverage of reproductive health care for their students and employees. For students learning and growing in college environments where rape is far too common, access to contraception and emergency contraception is critical. This Note argues that Title IX, the civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs, requires colleges and universities to make contraception and emergency contraception available on campus to student survivors of sexual assault. When pregnancy resulting from rape is conceptualized as an injury, Title IX obliges schools to remedy that injury and prevent its recurrence by ensuring contraceptive access on campus. In this light, Title IX emerges as a vehicle to address both sexual assault and unwanted pregnancy— dual barriers to the equal educational opportunity envisioned by Title IX. Finally, this reading of Title IX presents an opportunity not only to make common sense health care and education policy reforms, but also to revisit broader doctrinal implications for reproductive justice as an issue of sex equality.


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Columbia Journal of Gender and Law

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October 19, 2017