LLM Law and Reproduction

Module leader:  Dr Sheelagh McGuinness

Module description:

The module will give students the opportunity to gain knowledge and critical understanding of the relationship between law and reproduction in the United Kingdom and internationally. The course will be grounded in a socio-legal approach; this allows students to think critically and analytically about the historical, cultural, and ethical underpinnings of regulation of reproduction.

At the start of the module the students are introduced to sexual and reproductive health policy and specifically arguments based in reproductive justice. From there we move on to consider specific issues in how we regulate sexual and reproductive health. Although the focus will be on reproduction the course will give students the opportunities to think critically about the interplay between public and private choices and specifically the place of law in regulating intimate activities. Students will spend much of their time critically assessing the concepts of privacy, liberty, and justice as applied in the sphere of reproduction. Advance reading will provided in advance of each seminar and students will be encouraged to contribute to seminar debates of the topics each week.

Seminar topics:

  • Sem 1: Introduction to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services
  • Sem 2: Abortion and the Medical Profession
  • Sem 3: Regulating Assisted Reproduction
  • Sem 4: Conscientious Refusal to Provide Sexual and Reproductive Health Care
  • Sem 5: Criminalising Reproduction
  • Sem 6: The Criminal Law and the Pregnant Body
  • Sem 7: Issues in Global Maternal Health I
  • Sem 8: Issues in Global Maternal Health II
  • Sem 9: Regulating Transnational Surrogacy Agreements
  • Sem 10: Reproductive Justice for All

Recommended reading:

There is no recommended textbook. However, the following advance reading is recommended

Methods of assessment

Modules on the LLM programmes will be assessed in one of the following ways. As this website is set up in advance, it is not possible to specify which method of assessment will be implemented for each module.


  • One 6000 word essay


  • One 3-hour written examination

If you'd like to find out how a module will be assessed in the forthcoming academic year please contact the LLM Programmes Administrator at Law-LLM@contacts.bham.ac.uk.



Modules and Courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.