MacArthur Fellows Program

Janet Benshoof

Attorney and Reproductive Rights Leader | Class of 1992

Attorney and Reproductive Rights Leader
New York, New York
45 at time of award
December 18, 2017
Published July 1, 1992

About Janet's Work

Janet Benshoof, an attorney, is an expert on reproductive rights.

In court and as director of the Reproductive Rights unit of the American Civil Liberties Union, she has been involved in some of the most critical legal and moral debates of the past two decades.  Benshoof’s work consists of directing federal litigation and public education regarding reproductive health matters, including birth control, abortion rights, and the rights of teenagers.


Benshoof left the ACLU in 1992 to head the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, later renamed the Center for Reproductive Rights, serving as president until 2002.  The Center focuses on ensuring reproductive health care choices, domestically and worldwide.  She remains a consultant on international women’s rights as president emeritus.  She has been a visiting lecturer at Yale, Columbia, Rutgers, Case Western Reserve, and Harvard Universities.  Her writing appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard Law Review, Issues in Science and Technology, the New York University Journal of International Law and Policy, and Women’s Health Issues.  She has also contributed essays to a number of books addressing issues of women’s reproductive rights.

Benshoof received a B.A. (1969) from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. (1972) from the Harvard University Law School.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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