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June 2019 - President's Message
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President's Message - june

Heather Stern
WLALA President 2018-2019

I have tremendous pride in WLALA and its good work as a bar, a network, and a community.  I am especially proud of WLALA’s Pro Choice and Reproductive Rights committee and the excellent programming it has offered year after year. 

Living and practicing in California, it can feel like a woman’s right to choose is an established right that can be taken for granted.  After all, Roe v. Wade was a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision – over 45 years ago – and a woman’s right to choose was recognized in California even before that.  See People v. Belous (1969) 71 Cal.2d 954, 963 (“The fundamental right of the woman to choose whether to bear children follows from the Supreme Court's and this court's repeated acknowledgment of a ‘right of privacy’ or ‘liberty’ in matters related to marriage, family, and sex.”). 

But our committee knows better, and as the latest headlines show and WLALA’s programming has spotlighted for many years, we cannot take our rights for granted, ever.  The latest anti-choice legislation in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, and Mississippi, as disturbing as it is, may seem far away from us.  But it really is happening, now, in this country.  And there is no question that people on both sides of the issue will be pushing the U.S. Supreme Court to review these measures.  If the Supremes take the case, and by a slim partisan male margin fail to strike down these measures, there will be no legal protection against a nationwide federal legislative effort to effectively prevent women from ever obtaining a safe legal abortion here in this country, including in California.  And if the Supremes do not take the case, the women in these states will have simply had their rights stripped with no higher body to appeal to, a voicelessness and marginalization in our society which no one here should countenance.  And this is without even considering the terrifying prospect of more changes in the makeup of the US Supreme Court, and the peril to our rights that that might present.

WLALA’s mission statement includes the promotion and improvement of the status of women by supporting their exercise of equal rights, equal representation, and reproductive choice.  Our Pro Choice and Reproductive Rights committee actively supports this aspect of our mission statement, as do, among others, WLALA’s legislation, amicus briefs, and appointive office committees.  If you are looking for ways to get involved, look no further.  Join us, and stand proud, with me, of the work that we do.