After recognizing a gap in advocacy at Miami Law, three students joined forces to launch Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) in the fall 2011. The new student organization promotes the rights of both men and women in determining if and when to raise a child and to be free from discrimination and reproductive oppression.
"We felt that there should be a group that's dedicated to reproductive justice, not just economic justice or social justice," Catherine Kaiman said, president of LSRJ. When she and Luis Ramos and Mary Delcamp developed the group, they wanted "something that focused solely on reproductive justice," she said.
Last month, the board members hosted their first on-campus panel titled: "Asking for It: Rape, Consent and Victim Blaming." At the event, which included LSRJ advisors Professor Mary Anne Franks and Professor Tamara Rice Lave, discussions revolved around the persistent idea that victims are partially to blame for sexual assault. The message in the end was that a crime is simply a crime. A victim is a victim.
Quickly gaining steam, the organization is already planning its next event on Thursday, November 3, in conjunction with the American Constitution Society, the Student Organization for Human Rights and Professor James W. Nickel and Professor Carrie Bettinger-Lopez, director of the Human Rights Clinic.
"We want to be a big force on campus," Kaiman said. As it currently stands, the organization has a few hurdles to climb. The overarching misconception about reproductive justice tends to be cloaked with the polarizing conversations about abortion.
"But it's so much more than that," Ramos said, one of a few male members of the student organization. "It's not just an issue that affects women," he said. "Men should be equally interested in protecting everyone's reproductive freedom."