Carol Sanger

Carol Sanger

  • Barbara Aronstein Black Professor Emerita of Law

J.D., University of Michigan, 1976
B.A., Wellesley College, 1970

Areas of Specialty

Family Law
Abortion Law

An award-winning teacher and influential scholar of reproductive rights, Carol Sanger writes and teaches courses on contracts, family law, the legal profession, and law and gender. Her most recent book, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in the 21st Century, addresses the regulation of abortion and maternal conduct, surrogacy, and the law’s relation to culture. She is also a co-editor of the Cases and Material on Contracts (8th edition) and other books.

Since joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 1996, Sanger has been recognized for her dedication to students and teaching: She has received the Law School’s Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Columbia University’s Presidential Teaching Award, Social Justice Initiatives’ Outstanding Public Interest Faculty Member of the Year, and the Columbia Law Women’s Association’s Myra Bradwell Award for her commitment to mentoring female law students.

Sanger began her law career in San Francisco as a commercial litigation associate in private practice. She first taught at the University of Oregon Law School and then Santa Clara University. Sanger has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the University of Oxford, where she was elected an honorary fellow of Mansfield College in recognition of her “world-renowned scholarship in the common law of contract, women’s rights, and research in human rights law.”


  • “The Lopsided Harms of Reproductive Negligence,” Columbia Law Review, 2018
  • “Closets, Standards, Abortion: A Reply to Professor Pozen,” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 2017
  • “Contracting for Motherhood: Post-adoption Visitation Agreements,” Bodies and Borders: Negotiating Motherhood in the 21st Century, Columbia University Press, 2016
  • Cases and Materials on Contracts (with Cohen, Brooks, and Garvin) (8th edition), 2013 
  • “Acquiring Children Contractually: Relational Contracts at Work at Home,” Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay (Jean Braucher, John Kidwell, and William C Whitford, eds.), Hart Publishing, 2013
  • “Bargaining for Motherhood: Postadoption Visitation Agreements,” Hofstra Law Review 41:2, 2013
  • “About Abortion: The Complications of the Category,” Arizona Law Review 54:4, 2013
  • “‘The Birth of Death’: Stillborn Birth Certificates and the Problem for Law,” 100 California Law Review 269, 2012
  • “Integrating Humanities into Family Law and the Problem with Truths Universally Acknowledged,” 3 California Law Review Circuit, 2012
  • “Decisional Dignity: Teenage Abortion, Bypass Hearings, and the Misuse of Law,” 18 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 409, 2009
  • “Seeing and Believing: Mandatory Ultrasound and the Path to a Protected Choice,” 56 UCLA Law Review 351, 2008
  • “Developing Markets in Baby-Making: In the Matter of Baby M,” 29 Harvard J. Law & Gender, 2007
  • Family Law Stories, Foundation Press, 2007
  • Gender and Rights (with Deborah Rhode), The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, Second Series (Ashgate/Dartmouth), 2005

View an extended list of Carol Sanger’s publications

Honors and Awards

Columbia University Presidential Teaching Award

Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Innovations in Scholarship Award, the Center for Reproductive Rights

Honorary Fellow, Mansfield College

News and Press