Last updated on: 5/28/2010 | Author:

Louise Melling, JD Biography

Director of the Center for Liberty at the ACLU
Pro to the question "Should Abortion Be Legal?"

“We know that women have abortions for many reasons. Even if we disagree on the issue of abortion, we can agree that these are private personal decisions we all must be able to make based on our own circumstances, beliefs, and values. We should respect and support a woman and her family as they face the life-altering decision of whether to have a child. It is neither my place nor our government’s place to make such an important life decision for someone else… We all care about life and about doing our best for the people we love. When we bring children into the world we want them to have the opportunity to live a good life. And we want to build a better future for our children and our grandchildren.


Abortion and reproductive freedom more broadly defined are important pieces of ensuring this common dream. To obtain a better future, we each must be free to make profoundly personal decisions about our reproductive lives without unwarranted government intrusion. As with all freedoms, there are limits. But a government that respects the personal integrity of its people both interferes in these essentially private decisions as little as possible and helps ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make these decisions responsibly.”

“Common Hopes,” Daily Kos, Jan. 22, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director, Center for Liberty at the ACLU (LGBT/AIDs Project, Reproductive Freedom Project, Women’s Rights Project, and Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief), 2010-present
  • Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Reproductive Freedom Project, 2003-2010
  • Acting Director, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, 2002-2003
  • Associate Director, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, 1997-2002
  • Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, 1992-1997
  • Staff Attorney Fellow, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, 1989-1990
  • Former Associate Attorney, law firm of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, 1988-1989
  • Former Law Clerk for Judge Morris E. Lasker of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1987-1988
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1987
  • BA, Oberlin College, 1982

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Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Abortion Be Legal?