Clara Spera

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Reproductive Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Clara worked to protect and expand access to reproductive care, particularly for low-income women who live far away from the nearest reproductive health clinic, using a variety of innovative legal and advocacy rights, at a critical time when the Supreme Court was likely to decimate the right to an abortion.

In the Fall of 2021, the Supreme Court will hear case directly challenging Roe v. Wade. There is no path for the Supreme Court to uphold the abortion ban in question without overturning Roe’s core holding—that every pregnant person has the right to decide whether to continue their pregnancy prior to viability. Clara’s project moved the ball forward in a number of ways, including providing complex research and analysis about ensuring abortion access across state borders and litigating cases in state court.  Her work will help pregnant people access critical care even if the Supreme Court guts the federal right to an abortion.

Fellowship Highlights

During her two-year Fellowship, Clara:

  • Filed a lawsuit challenging a suite of anti-abortion laws in North Carolina that significantly limit access to critical reproductive care, and successfully defended the lawsuit against a motion to dismiss
  • Developed in-depth research memoranda on legal questions raised by the increased need for women to travel across state lines to access abortion care
  • Advised clients –clinics and individual doctors– seeking to expand their model of care to reach rural populations without easy access to reproductive services
  • Joined several litigation teams challenging multiple state restrictions placing significant burdens on people trying to access their constitutional rights
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, joined several lawsuits fighting to release vulnerable state prison and jail detainees and forced officials to implement conditions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 behind bars. As the only reproductive rights focused attorney at the ACLU’s national office working with these teams, her work focused in part on pregnant detainees and nursing mothers

Next Steps

Following her Fellowship, Clara will be taking some time off to focus on independent writing projects, and then will jump back in the ring working with a legal organization committed to ensuring the right of all people to make the best decision for themselves and their families about whether and when to have children, without undue political interference.


Pandemic Lawyering: A Year in Review

Clara Simone Spera Discusses Her Work to Protect and Advance Women’s Reproductive Rights

Protecting Access to Reproductive Care

All women—not just those of means—should be able to make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to have children without undue state or political interference.

Clara Spera /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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