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Laura Briggs - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Laura Briggs

Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Laura Briggs is an expert on U.S. and international reproductive politics, child welfare policy and transnational and transracial adoption.

Expertise (4)

Transnational Adoption

Reproduction Politics


Child Separation


An expert on reproductive politics and transnational and transracial adoption, Laura Briggs has appeared in print, broadcast and digital media to explain these complex issues. She has been featured on PBS and in national publications including Slate, InStyle and Ms. Magazine.

Social Media






Taking Children as a Tactic of Terror in the Americas The Politics of Abortion with UMass Prof. Laura Briggs | Connecting Point | June 11, 2019 All Politics is Reproductive - Laura Briggs | The Open Mind How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: Laura Briggs


Education (3)

Brown University,: Ph.D., American Civilization

Harvard University: M.T.S., Theology and Secondary Education

Mount Holyoke College: A.B., Women’s Studies

Select Media Coverage (5)

Twenty US governors join coalition to strengthen reproductive rights

Courthouse News Service  online


Laura Briggs says, “This is good news and speaks to the unhappy consequences of the Dobbs decision — not only dangerous and inadequate miscarriage and other reproductive health care in anti-abortion states but exacerbating the very problem the Supreme Court claimed it was going to remedy with Dobbs: A nation disrupted and divided over abortion care,”

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Why Female Sterilization Is Both Widespread and Under Fire

Spiegel  online


"The popularity of female sterilization is an indicator for poverty and for limited access to adequate healthcare," says Laura Briggs, professor for international healthcare and reproduction policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Sterilization is often only the best contraception method when circumstances make it so."


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Who Was the Anti-ERA Activist Phyllis Schlafly?

InStyle  print


Laura Briggs, Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says “Phyllis Schlafly and others like her organized to make the Republican Party hostile to feminists and anti-racists.”

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The Politics of Abortion with UMass Prof. Laura Briggs

WGBY | Public Television for Western New England  tv


Abortion has once again become a hotly contested issue in the United States. UMass Amherst Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Laura Briggs is the author of How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics. Briggs joined Carrie Saldo to discuss the politics of abortion and the history of abortion in the United States.

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How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics With Laura Briggs

WORT Radio  radio


“All politics is reproductive.” That’s the major claim of Laura Briggs, our guest today. She joins Carousel in the studio for a far-reaching discussion of reproductive justice and contemporary American politics.

Laura Briggs discussing reproductive politics

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Select Publications (8)

Originalists are misreading the Constitution’s silence on abortion

The Washington Post

Laura Briggs


"It is a curious thing that the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now mostly composed of “originalists” — or those who say they wish to interpret the Constitution in terms of what its drafters originally wrote and intended — is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that decriminalized abortion. According to a leaked draft of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the court will allow Mississippi to ban abortion after 15 weeks, opening the floodgates for similar legislation."

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Biden’s immigration bill could repair the harms of family separation

The Washington Post

Laura Briggs


"On Thursday, Democratic lawmakers introduced President Biden’s immigration bill. At the center of the legislation is an eight-year path to citizenship for some 11 million people. This would provide relief for millions of families who face the threat of separation through immigrant detention and deportation. ..."

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Taking Children: A History of American Terror (BOOK)

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Taking Children argues that for four hundred years the United States has taken children for political ends. Black children, Native children, Latinx children, and the children of the poor have all been seized from their kin and caregivers. As Laura Briggs’s sweeping narrative shows, the practice played out on the auction block, in the boarding schools designed to pacify the Native American population, in the foster care system used to put down the Black freedom movement, in the US’s anti-Communist coups in Central America, and in the moral panic about “crack babies.”

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These Are Not My People

Ms. Magazine

Laura Briggs


"... I am so very tired of people telling me that as a white woman, it’s my responsibility “to get my people”—and “convert” the majority of white women who vote Republican into feminist activists. ... It’s critical to be aware of how much racism and sexism—what others call “traditional values”—are central to anti-feminist recruitment. Indeed, anti-feminism is what brought white women into the fold of the Republican Party. "

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How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics ... (BOOK))

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Today all politics are reproductive politics, argues esteemed feminist critic Laura Briggs. From longer work hours to the election of Donald Trump, our current political crisis is above all about reproduction.

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Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption (BOOK)

Duke University Press Books

Laura Briggs


In Somebody's Children, Laura Briggs examines the social and cultural forces—poverty, racism, economic inequality, and political violence—that have shaped transracial and transnational adoption in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first.

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International Adoption: Global Inequalities and the Circulation of Children (BOOK)

NYU Press

Laura Briggs


In the past two decades, transnational adoption has exploded in scope and significance, growing up along increasingly globalized economic relations and the development and improvement of reproductive technologies. A complex and understudied system, transnational adoption opens a window onto the relations between nations, the inequalities of the rich and the poor, and the history of race and racialization, Transnational adoption has been marked by the geographies of unequal power, as children move from poorer countries and families to wealthier ones, yet little work has been done to synthesize its complex and sometimes contradictory effects.

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Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (BOOK)

University of California Press

Laura Briggs


Original and compelling, Laura Briggs's Reproducing Empire shows how, for both Puerto Ricans and North Americans, ideologies of sexuality, reproduction, and gender have shaped relations between the island and the mainland. From science to public policy, the "culture of poverty" to overpopulation, feminism to Puerto Rican nationalism, this book uncovers the persistence of concerns about motherhood, prostitution, and family in shaping the beliefs and practices of virtually every player in the twentieth-century drama of Puerto Rican colonialism. In this way, it sheds light on the legacies haunting contemporary debates over globalization.

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