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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Defining Ourselves - PART II"

Posted By Alisa Loigman, Monday, January 9, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Defining Ourselves - PART II

PART I of II --- was posted on 1/3/17
 


WHO are YOU?
Take a moment to soak in your response to that question. Grab a note pad. Let’s play with this idea and how to add more congruence of ourselves into the professional arena. Write down your top three best personal qualities (for this exercise, lets refer to these as our “authentic self”). Take a moment to acknowledge how amazing you are. Next, write a list of five ways to appropriately incorporate those qualities into your client or colleague interactions (“action points”). These five action points can be small or large but make sure they are easy to practice and feel peaceful. Now, incorporate more of your authentic self into your daily routine, enacting one per day for one week. As you incorporate more of your authentic self into your professional practice, make note of three things: (1) How did you feel practicing your action points and allowing more of your authentic self to be present at work? (2) Did you notice any differences in your interactions? (3) Did your awareness and presence with your authentic self impact your perception of WHO you are?


I encounter many amazing women in our field and, when we get personal and open up, I often hear the struggle of being too stressed, not having enough time, and feeling like something always has to suffer for something else. I hear guilt and, almost always, that guilt stems from everything that we have internalized. (Because, duh, a professional is serious and not emotionally intelligent. Really?) Sometimes we tell ourselves stories that do not serve our highest good. Does this resonate for you in any part of your life? How can we feel more authentically like ourselves, personally and professionally? I believe that it starts with finding where you can add more of WHO you are into WHAT you do. Be unique. Break the mold. Manifest YOUR dreams. We are the unique qualities we bring to our roles, not simply the individual roles themselves.


I want to take a moment to respect the dynamic beauty that each of you uniquely possess. You’re smart, motivated, passionate, organized, and so much more. Do you remember to see this in your morning routines, meetings, billable hours, work deadlines, personal appointments, and family obligations? Do you remember to acknowledge these radiant parts of yourself? Release the guilt of not being enough; you are enough. Be kind to yourself; you do enough. Give grace to any discomfort that may arise in your journey of growth; you are exactly where you should be. I am in awe of all that you are, all that you are working towards, and everything you have been. WHO are you? You are whole. I am whole. Together, we are whole. I will not hold you back, stifle your growth, or judge you for the journey you are on and the challenges you are overcoming. I stand by your side in support of your fullest potential and greatest desires. Take the tim
e to reflect on the beauty of WHO you are, I do.


This blog was authored by Alisa Loigman.

Tags:  Authentic  Awareness  Balance  Definition  Identify  Intentions  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  Personal  Professional  Qualities  Self  Successful  What  Who 

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Perfection in the Imperfection: "Defining Ourselves - PART I"

Posted By Alisa Loigman, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Defining Ourselves - PART I

Who are you?  No, no… not what do you do. Who are YOU?

 

When we are busy filling the many roles of life, we often forget to self-identify with WHO we are and not WHAT we do. Yes, what we do can be a large part of our identity but we are not served by defaulting to defining ourselves by our professional titles. The BBC News recently posted an article entitled “Why you shouldn’t ask people what they do” (by Alina Dizik) and one specific sentence grasped my attention: “Even the most successful executives will benefit from disentangling their sense of self from what they do.”

 

Ahh, yes, this got me thinking: WHO am I? (Deep breath, pause) If I answer that question professionally: I am a forensic accountant in the world of litigation and marital dissolution proceedings. If I answer that question personally: I am a dynamic woman, a wild spirit, a humbly soft and down to earth mother, a nurturing wife, and a compassionate friend; I am an individual with great capacity for love, kindness, and drive. Similar to most, I often lead with describing myself professionally, but much prefer the more personal answer.

 

I am sometimes overcome with feeling that WHAT I do overshadows WHO I am in my daily life, that my “self” gets lost in the context of the life roles I play (professional, mother, wife, community volunteer). I spend the majority of my waking time in my office and struggle with leaving that professional persona behind. I want more: to be more; to feel more; to play more; to achieve more. In order to create that abundance, I must first observe the unquestioned part of WHO I am in life and find more ways to bring my authentic self into my professional role. My intention is to create more balance in my life; my long-term success and happiness depends on it. This is the life that feels sustainable, empowering, fulfilling, and impactful. 

PART I of II --- find out who YOU are in Part II, will be posted 1/10/17


This blog was authored by Alisa Loigman. 

Tags:  Authentic  Awareness  Balance  Definition  Identify  Intentions  LCB  perfection in the imperfection  Personal  Professional  Qualities  Self  Successful  What  Who 

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Guest Blog: "Words Matter: Use Them Carefully"

Posted By Deborah Dixon, Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Words Matter: Use Them Carefully

 

We all remember the childhood saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That saying is far from true; in fact, it is actually completely false. As children, we all knew that words hurt, and as adults, we are keenly aware of how our words can hurt someone or, even, ourselves. As lawyers, we have an even more intimate relationship with the power of words. 


And, as women, we know the devastating effect words can have on our self-esteem, development, confidence and success. Not only are we cautious about how we are spoken to or about, but we have additional concerns about how our words are perceived: “Will they think I was mean, instead of assertive?” These considerations are a constant battle. 


We also face “women bashing” or “shaming.” It has become all too common in our society to shame women for what they wear, what they say, what they do – or what they don’t wear, say or do. And, worse yet, it is not just from men. In fact, sometimes it is more hurtful when women engage in disparaging remarks about other women, or when women sit idly by as men and/or women unfairly criticize or perpetuate hurtful words about another woman.

 

As women we have enough to deal with—our work, school, career, personal life, social life, volunteerism and the list can keep going—we don’t also need to spend our energy cutting down other women. We can be examples of true collaboration, by sticking together and building each other up. We know attitudes and words are contagious, whether they are positive or negative. We can compliment each other more, praise each other’s accomplishments more, and raise one another up with our words. 


What we didn’t learn when we repeated the childhood rhyme was this: While sticks and stones may break our bones, those wounds will heal faster than the wounds from our words. Let’s be mindful the next time we hear or start to engage in negative words or criticism. Let’s raise each other up with our words!


Deborah Dixon is a Senior Trial Attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys, focusing on class action claims.

Tags:  guest blogger  LCB 

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Perspectives from the Periphery of Family Law: "Sending Clients Condolences After a Tragedy"

Posted By Anna Howard, Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Sending Clients Condolences After a Tragedy

            I like sending cards. I congratulate clients when they have a baby, I send them happy anniversary wishes, and I have an assortment of “get well soon” messages, and “in deepest sympathy” cards on hand. I also like efficiency. I have a pre-written email for the questions I field when someone asks me what to do next if their parent passes away. My email includes two attachments about grief, local resources, and a hyperlink to a website all about self-care during times of loss.

            However, no one prepared me for how to address clients who faced a violent terrorist attack in their home town. My work with surrogacy has involved clients living abroad, and I have number of clients from France. One year ago I wrote to them expressing my shock and disbelief at the shootings across the nightclubs and stadium in France. Nearly a year later, I was horrified beyond adequate expression to have to reach out again to address the terrorist attack in Nice on Bastille Day. I think in these instances, no pre-written or pre-purchased condolence card would suffice in letting them know that my heart was aching for them.

In one letter, I shared with them an article that I found somewhat uplifting. In another, I asked what charities my clients supported and if they wanted me to post online about their experiences. I wanted to make sure my words were sincere and did not come across as “sales-y” or invasive. 

            None of the recipients of these emails were angry (the worst outcome I feared) and many wrote back thanking me for the email. But what got me thinking about sharing this communication was that one or two wrote to me and said I was the first American they knew who had reached out and started a dialogue about the terrorism they witnessed. I was deeply sorry to hear so few of my fellow countrymen and women had sent an email or left them a voicemail. 

            As Lawyers Club members, one of the tenets of our mission is to advance the status of women in law and society. I think one of the hallmarks of being a woman in this industry is providing a kind word or caring tone to a fairly formal and arms-length profession. Another tenet of Lawyers Club is to promote civility in the law, but how does one act civil when reacting to a terrorist attack? For those of you who have a small client base in San Bernardino or Orlando, or who have represented people who have lost their homes to fires or floods, perhaps we should create a larger conversation about how to best express our condolences to clients after a tragedy.

Anna Howard, improving the lives of Californian families, one well-crafted legal document at a time.

EDITOR'S NOTE:This post was slated to be published weeks ago. In light of last night's tragedy in Berlin, its message is even more timely and thought-provoking.

Tags:  balance  client outreach  crisis response  expressing sympathy  LCB  Perspectives from the Periphery of Family Law  sending condolence  solo firm 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "Notorious RBG to the Rescue!"

Posted By Molly T. Tami , Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Notorious RBG to the Rescue!

 

Like many of you, I’m feeling disheartened these days by all the negative news and nasty rhetoric out there, particularly as it relates to women and our place in society. The founding mothers of feminism must surely be rolling in their graves just as we modern day feminists are shocked by what we are witnessing in the presidential election campaign. Need I say more? And at work, my inbox fills with article after article about gender disparity in pay at law firms, women’s underrepresentation in the legal ranks, sexual harassment claims in the legal academy, and so forth. No wonder many women feel discouraged these days, even women in the legal profession who arguably yield great influence and power over their own circumstances and fate.   

 

In the midst of all this bad news and gloom, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Notorious RBG!) came to my rescue. I’ve watched several recent interviews with Justice Ginsburg as she promotes her new book, My Own Words, and I just read her recent New York Times essay entitled Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Advice for Living, adapted from that book. Justice Ginsburg’s personal story inspires me and demonstrates the great progress women have made in the legal profession. But what she shared in the interviews and in the essay about her “supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse,” Marty Ginsburg, struck me the most. “And I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court,” she writes. Marty Ginsburg secured the support of her home state senator and members of the legal academy and practicing bar to make her nomination happen. It’s apparent that marrying Marty was one of the best decisions of Justice Ginsburg’s personal and professional life.

 

We’ve all heard it said that behind every successful man is a great woman. In the old days, that was generally true. While I don’t subscribe to the notion that every successful professional woman needs a man (or partner) behind her, I firmly believe that for women who decide to marry, choosing the “right” partner is the most critical decision for both personal and career success. I hope many women reading this have chosen well or will heed this advice when contemplating marriage/partnership in the future. And to the many supportive male members of the Lawyers Club, I thank you for being our allies, advocates and in many cases, that “right” partner. 

 

I leave you with the closing paragraph of Justice Ginsburg’s essay, and I thank her for rescuing me and inspiring us all to continue chasing the last wave. 

 

Earlier, I spoke of great changes I have seen in women’s occupations. Yet one must acknowledge the still bleak part of the picture. Most people in poverty in the United States and the world over are women and children, women’s earnings here and abroad trail the earnings of men with comparable education and experience, our workplaces do not adequately accommodate the demands of childbearing and child rearing, and we have yet to devise effective ways to ward off sexual harassment at work and domestic violence in our homes. I am optimistic, however, that movement toward enlistment of the talent of all who compose “We, the people,” will continue.

 

Molly Tami serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law. She previously designed and taught a course on Law, Gender and the Work/Family Conflict and is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession.               

Tags:  Chasing the Last Wave  election  feminism  feminist  gender  Justice Ginsburg  LCB  legal profession  marriage  partner  sexual harassment  spouse  Supreme Court  women 

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Guest Blog: "Happy 100th Birthday, Planned Parenthood!"

Posted By Anne Haule, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, Planned Parenthood!

 

The “birth” of Planned Parenthood Federation of America can be traced to the first birth control clinic in the U.S., which was opened by Margaret Sanger, her sister, and a fellow activist in Brooklyn, New York, on October 16, 1916. As the 6th of 11 children born out of 18 pregnancies in 22 years to an Irish Catholic mother who died at 49, it is not surprising that Sanger became a birth control activist.

 

Sanger became a fearless activist, educating women about how to avoid pregnancies that too often resulted in self-imposed abortions and death. She published contraceptive information unavailable elsewhere, (even in libraries or from physicians), due to prohibitions on sex education deemed “obscene” by the federal Comstock Act.

 

Fast forward to today: One hundred years after the opening of the first clinic, Planned Parenthood is still fighting—a fight that has broadened in scope from education and access to reproductive justice.

 

Some highlights of the 100-year fight include:

  • 1921: Establishment of the American Birth Control League, adding legislative reform and research to its mission (the name was changed to Planned Parenthood in 1942).
  • 1951: Research grant awarded to Planned Parenthood to develop a birth control pill.
  • 1965: Supreme Court legalized birth control for married people; Estelle Griswold, Planned Parenthood’s Connecticut President, opened a birth control clinic to challenge the state’s ban on birth control and successfully overturned the ban!
  • 1970: Contraceptives and sex education and contraception research becomes available through public funding; President Nixon and Republican leadership agree that family planning is part of public health.
  • 1973: Abortion becomes legal when the Supreme Court rules that abortion is a protected privacy right guaranteed by the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution (Roe v. Wade).
  • 1970s to present: Physical attacks on clinics and providers and continuous legislative attempts at restrictions on abortion.
  • 2011: Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover contraception.
  • 2016: 100 years after Sanger’s first clinic opened in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court holds Texas’ restrictions on abortion providers that severely limited access to be illegal in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Today, Planned Parenthood continues to be the subject of attacks by politicians and religious extremists. As a patient escort at a local abortion services provider, I can testify to offensive rhetoric of some anti-abortion protesters (among other names, fellow volunteers and I have been referred to as “Satan’s spawn” and “conspirators to murder”). Planned Parenthood’s physicians, staff, and volunteers are courageous in the face of such opposition.

 

Planned Parenthood is now the largest provider of women’s healthcare in the country. According to Planned Parenthood statistics, one in three women have abortions at some point in their lives. Thanks to Planned Parenthood and other providers, abortion has become a safe medical procedure and self-imposed abortion deaths familiar to Margaret Sanger have become a thing of the past in the United States.

 

For all the important work performed by Planned Parenthood over the past 100 years that has allowed us to advance the cause of women and families, let us all take the time to acknowledge the 100th birthday and consider donating our time and/or our resources to continue the fight.

 

This blog post was authored by Anne M. Haule. Anne M. Haule is a writer, feminist, progressive activist, and retired health lawyer, who wrote this on behalf of the Lawyers Club’s Reproductive Justice Committee. 

Tags:  Anne Haule  birth control  healthcare  LCB  parenthood  planned  planned parenthood  reproductive justice  reproductive justice committee  RJC  sanger 

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Life Imitates Law: "Lessons from 'Miss You Like Hell'”

Posted By Bobbi-Jo Dobush , Thursday, December 1, 2016
Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2016

Life Imitates Law: "Lessons from 'Miss You Like Hell'"

 

Stepping out into the newly crisp fall air, I declared, "I’ve found my new favorite thing." I issued this proclamation in response to my husband asking how I liked the play, “Miss You Like Hell,” which we had just seen. He laughed at my response, clarifying, "You mean your new favorite play, or favorite musical?" "No," I responded, "Favorite thing . . . as in, in general." The characters, music, set design—they are all transcendent.

 

But this is not a theater review. Instead, I was inspired by one scene where an attorney asks her client to make a request of a family member. You should definitely go see “Miss You Like Hell,” so I'll only say that the client agonizes over the idea of asking a loved one to vouch for her in the context of a legal proceeding. The scene got me thinking about the things attorneys ask of our clients, especially when the matter is deeply personal, and more importantly, how we ask for those things. (Full disclosure: I am an environmental attorney, but I encounter such situations in my pro bono immigration practice).

 

We may not realize when certain “asks” that seem routine implicate complicated interpersonal relationships. It is easy to be empathetic when asking a client to deliver on bureaucratically or logistically complicated requests, such as obtaining original documents from a country of origin a client has not set foot in for a decade, or certification from an agency that will require standing in line for half a workday. In making such requests, I have been prepared to provide support, talk through challenges and potential solutions, and research or brainstorm alternatives if necessary.

 

“Miss You Like Hell” made me realize I have been less readily empathetic in asking clients to make personal requests, whether for assistance in obtaining documents, writing letters, or testifying. I've always been sensitive to potentially difficult or uncomfortable aspects of each client's particular situation. For instance, it's obvious that the last way a survivor of violence wants to obtain original documents is by contacting her or his abuser. Beyond that, I'd do well to remember that no matter how intimately I, in the role of attorney, have come to know one aspect of a client's situation, it is but a tiny sliver of that person's complex personal life.

 

Instead of asking clients to make personal requests as an afterthought or part of a checklist, I will now be asking clients, "Who could potentially provide a letter of reference?” and, “Is there any reason asking that person would be complicated for you?" I will also be prepared to do some brainstorming if alternative sources are needed. Our clients, like everyone else we know, have rich and varied personal relationships independent of their legal issues and the potential solutions that we, as attorneys, can provide for them. My personal goal is to be more respectful of those relationships.

 

****

 

“Miss You Like Hell" is playing through December 4th at the La Jolla Playhouse. 

 

****

This blog posted was authored by Bobbi-Jo Dobush who believes that sharing our diverse passions—for example the arts, the ocean, or salsa (the condiment)—can positively influence our practices. 

Tags:  Art  client  Client Service  LCB  Life Imitates Law  Local Happenings  Theater 

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My So-Called First-World Problems: "WASH YOUR VAGINA"

Posted By Rebecca Zipp, Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WASH YOUR VAGINA!

            I know. It’s so … crass.

 
Well, here’s the story. I was in court for a sentencing calendar. The same white male heterosexual defense attorney who had once suggested I stand on my head (I was wearing a skirt suit that day, ha-ha) was limping due to an injury. I held the door for him and his white male legal intern on my way out.

           
“Thanks,” he said. “It’s been difficult getting around.” I made some sort of sympathetic sound. I probably nodded and inquired about his injury. 

           
He explained how he’d been injured and how long recovery was expected to take. “But you know,” he told me, “I’ve been limping around the office, and a colleague finally told me to stop feeling sorry for myself, wash my vagina, and get back to court!”

           
This particular man self-identifies as a progressive, a committed civil libertarian, and as someone who works tirelessly on behalf of his clients—who are, almost without exception poor, and, often as not, people of color. He truly cares about his clients, about due process and equal protection. But I guess he didn’t realize his comment, in addition to its sheer vulgarity, belied some of his closely held beliefs about half of all people: the ones with the vaginas.


It would have been easy to march back to my office and fume in silence. Instead, I spit out, “When you say things like that, you demean women. You make us out to be less than men.”


Stammering, he apologized. He did look contrite. “Don’t say it again,” I cautioned him. As I walked down the long hallway of the Superior Court, I wondered, Why d
oes he equate female genitalia with weakness? Why does he equate women with weakness?  Why did he feel comfortable making that comment to me? In front of his intern? 

 

I didn’t seek out this opportunity to educate a colleague on his unconscious bias. But the occasion presented itself, and despite the obvious discomfort, I am pleased that I spoke, and that he seemingly listened. Maybe he kept on saying things like that; maybe he kept on believing that women are subordinate to men. Dirtier than men. Weaker and more cowardly than men. But perhaps he left court that day a little bit enlightened, and I hope he stops and thinks before using crass, gender-specific and demeaning phrases, particularly in a professional setting.

 

This blog post was authored by Rebecca Zipp who is a deputy district attorney in San Diego.

Tags:  gender  lawyers  LCB  male privilege  men  my so-called first world problems  sexism  stories to solutions  women 

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Off the Beaten Partner Track: "It’s Time to Stop Blaming Women for the Gender Pay Gap"

Posted By Jillian Fairchild , Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It’s Time to Stop Blaming Women for the Gender Pay Gap


It is time to stop blaming women for the pay gap. Women have shouldered the bulk of the criticism for the wage gap for years. The results of a new study show that the differences in pay between men and women is actually due to discrimination.

 

In conjunction with the discussion regarding the wage gap between men and women, there have been many reasons given for the differences in pay. In addition to the discussion regarding the biases contributing to the problem, many of these explanations seem to either blame the women themselves or criticize what was deemed to be their natural characteristics.

 

Some of the reasons frequently given for wage inequality include women’s failure to negotiate pay and taking time off to raise children. There have also been some that argue the reason women are paid less is because women tend to choose lower paying jobs. Men, it is thought, choose better paying jobs like science, tech, engineering, and math.  Meanwhile, women become teachers or work for non-profits.

 

One of the other reasons frequently asserted for wage inequality is that women don’t ask for raises. Simply put, women do not get what they deserve because they don’t ask for it. Women are less likely to negotiate for themselves because they are socialized from a young age not to promote their own interests. Also women tend to assume they will be recognized and rewarded for working hard and doing a good job. Unlike men, this theory goes, they haven’t been taught they can ask for more.

 

A recent study debunks this commonly held idea that women are less aggressive negotiators when it comes to pay. A new study shows that women do ask for pay raises just as often as men, but the problem is they are less likely to get them. This study showed that women were 25% less likely than men to get a hike in pay when they asked for it. The researchers noted that they expected the study to show that women were “less pushy” than men, but their findings showed there is discrimination against women.

 

The results of this study show what most women already know - discrimination is a reason for the gender wage gap. Women sense there is discrimination keeping the pay gap in place, but there are entrenched ideas that it is their fault. They are taught that if only they asked for more raises, did not choose family over work, and chose the right careers then they would make more money. However, this study shows that even if women did everything right, there would still be inequality due to discrimination.

 

From now on when we hear someone blaming a woman for getting paid less than a man, then we should speak up. We need to point out there is inherent sexism keeping women from closing the gap that no amount of negotiating can close. We need to stand up for each other until this discrimination no longer exists.

 

This blog was authored by Jillian Fairchild. Jillian is a full-time litigator and full-time mom who spends her spare time trying to keep the princess culture away from her daughter (and failing miserably!).

 

Tags:  Gender Pay Gap  LCB  Off the Beaten Partner Track  wage discrimination  women negotiating salary 

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Guest Blog: "Lawyers Club of San Diego has a New Committee Focusing on Reproductive Justice"

Posted By Mehry Mohseni, Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Lawyers Club of San Diego has a New Committee Focusing on Reproductive Justice"

 

Lawyers Club of San Diego has two new committees – The Reproductive Justice Committee and the Women’s Advocacy Committee. The two are a split of the former Reproductive Rights and Women’s Advocacy Committee. Why the split and why change from reproductive rights to reproductive justice?

 

Many of the victories won under the reproductive rights movement have typically been limited to two topics: access to contraception, and the availability of safe and legal abortion. At the very core of the movement is a desire for these basic rights to be guaranteed under the law. But for many, particularly women of color, the fight does not end there. A much broader set of concerns stems from the barriers for many women in actually realizing these rights.

 

Thus, a change in the movement arose, and the term “reproductive justice” was originally coined to represent the unique fight of women of color for reproductive rights, blended with an ongoing fight for social justice. Reproductive justice moves beyond the focus of individual choice, and closely examines the way in which our communities and government may create inequality for women through limited or no individual reproductive choice.

 

The term Reproductive Justice has been defined as: “The complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, social, and economic well-being of women and girls, based on the full achievement and protection of women's human rights.” It’s important to note this movement stretches beyond a woman’s right to limit the number of children, if any, she wishes to have. It also addresses the right a woman has to raise her children with dignity in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment.

 

Including the important perspective of a diverse group of women allows the movement to unfold layers of oppression that our communities face, through an intersectional analysis of women's “real life” experiences. Some of these cross-sections include women of color, women with disabilities, incarcerated women, women involved in sex work or sex trade, low-income women, and LGBTQ women.

 

One alarming and complex example of the reproductive justice analysis occurred in Texas in 2011 after state lawmakers decreased funding for family planning services by 66 percent, closing 82 family planning clinics. Not only did low-income women in particular have less access to birth control, but the number of pregnancy-related deaths doubled from 78 in 2010 to 148 in 2011.

 

A task force was created to examine this increase and discovered a shocking statistic - African-American mothers accounted for 11.4 percent of Texas births in 2011 and 2012, but 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths. The task force stated the overall increase in deaths was likely due to a “multitude of factors," including the funding decrease coupled with a lack of affordable health care for low-income women. The reproductive justice framework analyzes the effect of these drastic funding cuts from the perspective of women of color and low-income women who are already at risk of not realizing their full reproductive health needs.

 

I’m excited to Co-Chair the new Reproductive Justice Committee this year and to challenge Lawyers Club members to view reproductive health not just from the legal stand point that we are used to, but in a more complex and broader context of well-being and community. I hope you will join us!

 

(Meetings are held the first Friday of the month at 12:00-1:00p.m. at DLA Piper downtown. Contact Mehry Mohseni or Chelsea Mutual with any questions on how to get involved.)

Mehry Mohseni is a family law attorney with Cage & Miles, LLP and co-chair of the Reproductive Justice Committee. 

 

Tags:  guest blogger  LCB  reproductive justice  reproductive rights  womens advocacy committee  women's advocacy committee 

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