Document Type

Symposium Article


This essay introduces a collection of Symposium Essays examining Anita Bernstein’s book, The Common Law Inside the Female Body (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Professor Bernstein explores the common law’s recognition of both rights and liberties, highlighting in particular negative liberties such as the right to be left undisturbed. The Symposium Essays test and explore Professor Bernstein’s thesis as applied to the right to be free from rape and unwanted pregnancies. Grounded in perspectives informed by the study of tort law, legal history, intellectual property, constitutional law, and critical race theory, these Essays—together with Professor Bernstein’s book—suggest that the common law has been underutilized as a legal strategy to protect women’s rights.