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FAQ: Reproductive Justice Lawyers Network
WHAT IS THE REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LAWYERS NETWORK?
If/When/How’s Reproductive Justice Lawyers Network (RJLN) trains and mobilizes legal professionals to work for reproductive justice. Over the last two decades, If/When/How has been the leading professional home for law students who care about reproductive rights and justice. The Reproductive Justice Lawyers Network expands this by building community among lawyers dedicated to reproductive justice. The RJLN offers members a variety of ways to harness their skills and talents – whether through policy advocacy, criminal defense, litigation, or other means – to make impactful change toward reproductive freedom.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LAWYERING?
Reproductive justice lawyering recognizes that the ability to make self-determined decisions at every stage of a person’s reproductive life — including meaningful access to abortion, contraception, and pregnancy care — remains out of reach for many. Communities of color and people with low incomes are disproportionately harmed by the barriers, burdens, and stigma that make accessing care and resources more difficult and, in some cases, impossible. Lawyering for reproductive justice means taking a holistic, people-centered approach to dismantling oppressive institutions and redistributing and sharing wealth and power so that all people can self-determine their reproductive lives free from discrimination, coercion, or violence.
Examples of reproductive justice lawyering include:
- Getting educated on histories of reproductive justice and racial justice, and sharing this knowledge with colleagues
- Fundraising to support community organizations, such as funds to provide menstrual products to incarcerated people, bail funds, or mutual aid groups
- Representing a young person who is navigating the legal maze of forced parental involvement laws in order to access abortion care
- Providing legal services, such as reviewing contracts or leases, pro bono to local and grassroots groups centering Black, Indigenous and people of color
- Representing people criminalized for self-managing their abortion
- Advocating for just and inclusive policies at law schools and in legal workplaces, such as paid parental leave, racial equity accountability practices, and making campuses safer without police
- Signing petitions and calling Members of Congress to support proactive legislation that would improve access to reproductive health care
Reproductive justice lawyers respond to and support the unique needs of their communities, bring an intersectional lens to their work, and leverage their skills and privilege to expand reproductive freedom for everyone.
WHAT KIND OF CHANGES WILL I HELP CREATE BY VOLUNTEERING THROUGH THE RJLN?
RJLN members may work to support If/When/How’s five strategic initiatives: decriminalizing self-managed and supported non-clinical abortion; improving young people’s abortion access; securing public insurance coverage of abortion; enhancing birth options and experiences; and increasing support for families using public benefits. They may also avail themselves of the RJLN community and resources in supporting their own reproductive justice lawyering initiatives and efforts in their local communities, or be looped into opportunities to support movement allies, such as grassroots advocacy organizations, who need their specialized skills.
IS THIS NETWORK RIGHT FOR ME?
The RJLN will provide opportunities to develop connections with other legal professionals who care deeply about advocating for sexual and reproductive autonomy. The network will facilitate relationship building and mentorship, as well as opportunities for direct legal action. If you are seeking ways to apply your legal skills to tear down barriers to reproductive justice, this is also the network for you.
This network could be right for you if:
- You are a legal professional who cares about reproductive rights and wants to learn more about reproductive justice and how you can serve the movement.
- You are already engaged in reproductive justice lawyering and seek a political home where you can connect, organize, and make impactful change with other reproductive justice lawyers.
I’M A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL BUT NOT A LAWYER, CAN I STILL JOIN THIS NETWORK?
The network is not limited to traditional lawyers, but some offerings, such as continuing legal education and pro-bono project placements, may center barred attorneys. The RJLN will include programming that broadly supports the legal professional community.
HOW CAN I JOIN, AND WHAT CAN I EXPECT AS A MEMBER?
Sign up here: https://www.ifwhenhow.org/join-rj-lawyers-network/
Members of the RJLN commit to shared reproductive justice values and join by providing a sliding scale membership contribution. Members will receive a gift of their choice that represents their affiliation with the RJLN, such as an RJLN t-shirt, mug, or water bottle.
The RJLN is built to meet people where they are, and get them where they want to go. We offer introductory-level trainings for lawyers new to reproductive justice, and advanced tracks for legal professionals ready to put their skills to work.
RJLN members will deepen their understanding of the reproductive justice framework, support key litigation efforts, engage in pro-bono legal work, and research challenging legal questions critical to expanding sexual and reproductive autonomy and health.
Members will gain access to:
- Mentorship opportunities with established legal experts and experienced reproductive justice lawyers
- Panels featuring leading reproductive justice advocates
- Skills-building workshops, including free continuing legal education opportunities
- A virtual resource library and forum to connect with other members
Become a part of this powerful network today, and join the movement to lawyer for reproductive justice in your local community and across the country!