Our Team

Sarah Burns, JD

Sarah Burns, JD

President

Sarah Burns is a Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law. She supervises the Reproductive Justice Clinic, which represents clients throughout the United States in litigation and policy projects centering on reproductive decision making. Burns is Executive Director of Washington Square Legal Services, the nonprofit entity under which most NYU Clinical Law Programs practice law. Burns also co-founded and oversees the Mediation Clinic and the Litigation, Organizing & Systemic Change Clinic, conducted in partnership with Make the Road NY and Center for Popular Democracy. Burns combines law with learning in social science to develop effective solutions for problems that institutions and communities face. Burns, who has been on the NYU faculty since 1990, specializes in experiential learning pedagogy, developing simulation and clinical courses in litigation, negotiation, mediation, policy advocacy, and systemic change. Burns began her law practice as a litigating attorney with the Washington, DC., commercial law firm Covington & Burling, representing industry associations in federal regulatory matters that Burns cites as “a key introduction to interest-based and advocacy legal practice so central to all negotiation and coalition work—whether in for-profit or not-for-profit/NGO sectors.” Burns later moved into public interest civil rights practice, undertaking litigation, legislative, and policy advocacy work. She has worked nationwide on cases in federal and state courts, and has advised legislative and regulatory initiatives. Burns graduated in 1979 from Yale Law School, where she edited the Yale Law Journal, and holds master’s degrees from Stanford University in sociology and the University of Oklahoma in human relations.


Nancy R. Aries, PhD

Nancy R. Aries, PhD

Secretary

Nancy Aries is a Professor of Public Policy at Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College. She has held several administrative positions including Interim University Dean for Undergraduate Education and most recently Director of the Baruch Honors Program. Her areas of research have included women’s reproductive health services and policies, the hospital workforce diversity, and the economic impact of biomedical research. She is currently studying the racial divide in higher education policy and practice. Recognition that teaching can be transformative led her to be trained as a facilitator at the Institute for Intergroup Dialogue and to organize Creative Inquiry Day, Baruch’s celebration of student research and creative endeavors.


Hytham M. Imseis, MD

Hytham M. Imseis, MD

Treasurer

Dr. Imseis is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina. His career has been dedicated to caring for and advocating for pregnant women. He is very involved in the medical education of Obstetrician/Gynecologists across the United States for which he has won many teaching awards. He currently serves on the Women’s Executive Board and the Ethics Committee at his hospital and has served as the Medical Director of the Mountain Area Perinatal Substance Abuse Program and the Mountain Area Health Education Teen Pregnancy Clinic. Dr. Imseis has published research articles in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Obstetrics and Gynecology and currently reviews manuscripts for publication in both the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Khiara M. Bridges, JD, PhD

Khiara M. Bridges, JD, PhD

Khiara M. Bridges is a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. She has written many articles concerning race, class, reproductive rights, and the intersection of the three. Her scholarship has appeared or will soon appear in the Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the NYU Law Review, the California Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Virginia Law Review, among others. She is also the author of three books: Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization (2011), The Poverty of Privacy Rights (2017), and Critical Race Theory: A Primer (2019). She is a co-editor of a reproductive justice book series that is published under the imprint of the University of California Press. She graduated as valedictorian from Spelman College, receiving her degree in three years. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her Ph.D., with distinction, from Columbia University’s Department of Anthropology.


Carl Hart, PhD

Carl Hart, PhD

Dr. Carl Hart, PhD is the Chair of the Department of Psychology and the Dirk Ziff Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University. Dr. Hart is a leading researcher on issues of drug use and dependency. He is the author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. He is the winner of the 2014 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.


Carmelyn P. Malalis, JD

Carmelyn P. Malalis, JD

Carmelyn P. Malalis (she/her) is the former Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the agency tasked with combating discrimination in New York City. During her tenure, the NYC Human Rights Law was amended over 20 times to expand protections in the City, and the Commission was known for its aggressive law enforcement, creative approaches to education and outreach, a strong commitment to restorative justice principles, and outreach to historically underserved and marginalized communities throughout the City. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Malalis was a partner at Outten & Golden LLP where she co-founded and co-chaired its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workplace Rights Practice Group. While at the firm, she successfully represented employees in negotiations, agency proceedings, and litigation involving claims of sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, disability, and religion. She is a frequent speaker and commentator on human rights and issues involving diversity, equity, and inclusion; has held various leadership positions within the New York City Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and other bar associations; and is the recipient of numerous awards for her commitment to championing the rights of LGBTQIA, BIPOC, immigrant, and religious communities.


Ria Tabacco Mar, JD

Ria Tabacco Mar, JD

Ria Tabacco Mar (she/her) is the Director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project. Previously, she was an attorney with the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project, where she led the ACLU's team in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In the case, a same-sex couple was refused a wedding cake because they are gay. Ria is a frequent commentator on gender justice issues and has been recognized on The Root 100 annual list of the most influential African Americans ages 25 to 45 and as one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.


Jennifer L. Morgan, PhD

Jennifer L. Morgan, PhD

Jennifer L. Morgan is Professor of History in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University where she also serves as Chair. She is the author of "Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in the Making of New World Slavery" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and the co-editor of "Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in America" (University of Illinois Press, 2016). Her research examines the intersections of gender and race in the Black Atlantic world. Her newest work, "Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic" considers colonial numeracy, racism and the rise of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world and is forthcoming in Spring, 2021 with Duke University Press.

Her recent journal articles include "Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Law, Race, and Reproduction in Colonial Slavery," in Small Axe; "Accounting for 'The Most Excruciating Torment': Trans-Atlantic Passages" in History of the Present; and "Archives and Histories of Racial Capitalism" in Social Text. In addition to her archival work as a historian, Morgan has published a range of essays on race, gender, and the process of "doing history." Most notably, "Experiencing Black Feminism" in Deborah Gray White's edited volume "Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower" (2007). Pregnancy Justice was introduced to Professor Morgan by her father, John Morgan, a drug policy reformer and leader in research and writing regarding the effects of criminalized drugs.


Karen Sauvigné

Karen Sauvigné

Karen Sauvigné is a pioneer in the fight against sexual harassment in employment. While on the Cornell University faculty in the mid-1970s, she was part of a team that organized a “Speak-Out” in Ithaca, a kind of public consciousness raising against sexual exploitation at work. To give the phenomenon a name, they coined the term “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” She and her colleagues at Cornell gave voice to women whose previous experience had no expression.

Ms. Sauvigné has served as Director of Education in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Care at Mount Sinai and is co-author of several landmark publications on geriatrics competencies for medical trainees. Before going to Mount Sinai, she held faculty and management positions at Cornell, CUNY Law School, John Jay College, and Baruch College.

Until 2016 she chaired the board of Callen-Lorde Community Health. Ms. Sauvigné has also taught Leadership, Organizational Development and Strategic Management as graduate faculty at Baruch College, CUNY. In addition, she has served as Executive Director of the Legacy Foundation, was on the founding team at CUNY Law School, and has served on the Boards of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, the Public Interest Law Foundation, San Simeon Health and Nursing Center, and Cornell’s Institute for Women and Work, as well as NYC’s LGBT swim team, where she ran operations for Gay Games Swimming in 1994. Karen currently serves as Chair of the Grants Committee for the North Fork Women for Women Fund.

Dana Sussman, JD, MPH

Dana Sussman, JD, MPH

Acting Executive Director

Dana (she/her/hers) joined Pregnancy Justice in 2021 as Deputy Executive Director and is currently serving as Acting Executive Director. Dana previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs at the NYC Commission on Human Rights and as a Senior Staff Attorney with Safe Horizon's Anti-Trafficking Program. Dana was formerly an Associate at Outten & Golden LLP, representing employees in wage and hour cases and gender, pregnancy, disability, and LGBTQ+ discrimination matters. After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law, Dana served as a Legal Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights and clerked for federal Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in the Eastern District of New York. Dana also holds a B.A. and an M.P.H. from Tufts University.


Lynn M. Paltrow, JD

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD

Executive Director (on sabbatical until May 2023)

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD, (she/her/hers) founded National Advocates for Pregnant Women, now Pregnancy Justice, in 2001. Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews, and peer-reviewed journals. She is a Gemini and mother of twins.


Zenovia Earle

Zenovia Earle

Media & Communications Director

Zenovia Earle (she/her/hers) joined Pregnancy Justice in 2022 as the Media & Communications Director. She leverages experience in government affairs, community outreach, marketing, media relations, and journalism. Before joining Pregnancy Justice, Zenovia held NYC government communications roles in aging services and technology. She started her career in TV and online news. Zenovia holds a B.A. in journalism from Georgia State University and an M.P.A. from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.


Jordan Reynolds

Jordan Reynolds

Digital Communications Associate

Jordan Reynolds (she/her) joined Pregnancy Justice in 2022 as a Digital Communications Associate. She has a passion for storytelling, writing, and organizing online. Prior to joining Pregnancy Justice, she spent two years working in social media for the gun violence prevention movement. She started her career as a paralegal, supporting antitrust lawsuits against Big Pharma. She holds a B.A. in politics from New York University, where she graduated cum laude.


Damaris Williams

Damaris Williams

Staff Accountant

Damaris Williams (she/her/hers) is an accountant with experience in both the profit and non-profit sectors in various industries ranging from real estate management to publishing, higher education tech-startups, trade/barter, and professional associations. She graduated cum laude from Hunter College and holds a B.A. in accounting. She also holds a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. While working for a psychological association, she realized the importance of contributing to the well-being of society, leading her to Pregnancy Justice.


Samantha Valente, MA

Samantha Valente, MA

Senior Operations Associate

Samantha (she/hers) is an administrative professional with over 9 years of experience in office coordination and financial management at higher education institutions and non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in gender studies and history from Hampshire College and a Master of Arts degree in Labor Studies from the City University of New York (CUNY). Before joining Pregnancy Justice, Samantha worked as an Administrative Coordinator for the Public Engagement department at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. There, she supported multiple initiatives including civic engagement trainings; an energy democracy non-profit; a worker cooperative project and an academic journal, New Labor Forum.


Leena Chawla

Leena Chawla

Operations and Development Associate

Leena Chawla (she/her/hers) joined Pregnancy Justice in 2022 as the Operations and Development Associate. She holds a B.A. in sociology and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies from Middlebury College. Leena most recently worked at the Legal Aid Society, helping NYC tenants fight eviction and unjust housing laws. Before moving to Brooklyn, Leena worked with domestic violence survivors in Austin, Texas.


Samantha Lee, JD

Samantha Lee, JD

Senior Staff Attorney

Samantha Lee, JD, (she/her/hers) is a human and civil rights attorney committed to people’s inherent right to make their own decisions about their bodies, their families, and their health. After graduating from NYU Law School, Sam served as a public defender in Brooklyn, NY, representing parents against allegations of child abuse or neglect. At Pregnancy Justice, she combines grasstops organizing, public education, and legal advocacy to improve protections for pregnant people's legal rights in the criminal, family regulation, and hospital systems. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University, focusing on international human rights law, and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.


Lindsey Hull, JD, RN

Lindsey Hull, JD, RN

Staff Attorney

Lindsey Hull, RN, JD, (she/her/hers) obtained her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Tennessee, after which she spent five years as a labor and delivery nurse at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. As a nurse, she is nationally certified in in-patient obstetrics and has helped hundreds of women through some of the best, worst, and hardest days of their lives. Lindsey loves bedside nursing and misses her team, but she decided to go back to law school as a result of growing disenchantment with our healthcare system and a desire to advocate for positive policy changes. She obtained her JD from the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2020, where she had the opportunity to assist Professor Wendy Bach in researching and documenting the negative effects of Tennessee's criminal "fetal assault" law.


Emma Roth, JD

Emma Roth, JD

Staff Attorney

Emma Roth (she/her) is a civil rights attorney and gender justice advocate. Prior to joining Pregnancy Justice, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronnie Abrams of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She also worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, where she brought impact litigation to advance the rights of women and girls in courts across the country.

During law school, Emma was awarded a Ford Foundation Public Interest Fellowship to intern with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. She also interned with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. As a clinical student, she engaged in policy advocacy and litigation with the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership, Veterans Legal Services Clinic, and Reproductive Rights and Justice Project. She also served as a fellow in the Yale Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy and the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice. Prior to law school, Emma worked with a pro bono team at Paul, Weiss representing Mississippi’s last abortion clinic in its efforts to stay open.

Emma received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her A.B., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University.


Trip Carpenter, JD

Trip Carpenter, JD

NYU Public Service Legal Fellow

Trip Carpenter (he/him/his) joined Pregnancy Justice in 2022 as an NYU Public Service Legal Fellow. Prior to that, Trip served as a member of the Reproductive Justice Clinic at NYU Law School, where he support litigation challenging policies and laws that restrict the autonomy and equality of pregnant people. Before law school, Trip worked as a minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) policy analyst at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, where he was responsible for policy research and training procurement staff. Trip earned his J.D. from NYU Law School, his M.A. in human rights studies from Columbia University, and his B.A. from Western Kentucky University.


Fran D. Rodriguez, JD

Fran D. Rodriguez, JD

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP Brooks Burdette Legal Fellow

Fran D. Rodriguez (she/her), an associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, joined Pregnancy Justice as the Brooks Burdette Fellow. At Schulte, her pro bono practice focuses on civil rights and gender equality. During law school, she interned with The Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Practice and also worked with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Fran received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, attended Columbia University for post-baccalaureate studies in philosophy with a focus on women's and gender studies, and received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.


Mahathi Vemireddy, JD

Mahathi Vemireddy, JD

Knighton-Newman Legal Fellow

Mahathi Vemireddy (she/her) is a recent graduate of Northeastern School of Law with a concentration in health law and policy. She was involved with the school's Domestic Violence Clinic, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic, Salus Populi Project, and the Committee Against Institutional Racism. She previously interned with the National Institute for Reproductive Health, ACLU's Women's Rights Project, and Pregnancy Justice. She is excited to return to Pregnancy Justice as a Knighton-Newman fellow. Mahathi earned her B.A. from New York University, with a focus in decolonization and feminist movements.


Purvaja Kavattur, MSc

Purvaja Kavattur, MSc

Research and Program Associate

Purvaja S Kavattur (she/her) is a sexual reproductive health researcher. She’s particularly interested in the intersections between population control, gender and sexuality as well as exploring anti-colonial approaches to healthcare provision. Her research has examined US transmasculine adolescent abortion experiences and the influence of scientific literature on abortion jurisprudence. Prior to starting at Pregnancy Justice, Purvaja worked with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and the UN Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. Wherein she led a menstrual health policy review across Senegal, Kenya, India and the United States.

Purvaja has a MSc in Global Health and Population from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a BSc(Hons) in Social Policy and Economics from the London School of Economics.


Lauren Wranosky, MSW

Lauren Wranosky, MSW

Research and Program Associate

Lauren Wranosky (she/they) is a holistically trained social worker with experience in direct practice, policy, and research. They are passionate about enacting policy informed by data, practice, and lived experience to confront deliberately designed systems of oppression. Prior to Pregnancy Justice, Lauren worked in mental health, hospice, and skilled nursing, including as a Director of Social Services during the most crucial time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, they successfully ran for a seat as University Senator for the Columbia School of Social Work, where they worked on initiatives related to COVID-19, health and wellness, disability justice, and student resources.

Lauren holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Azusa Pacific University.