By Tara Almazan Mallis & Cris Kinsella
The third annual Reproductive Rights and Religion talk was held by TJSL’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice on Wednesday, April 9th. A three person panel composed of Rabbi Scott Meltzer, Professor Khaleel Mohammed, and Pastor Darin Johnson expressed the views of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, respectively, on topics within the area of reproductive freedom and how each faith tradition interacts with the exercise of such rights. Professor Joy Delman, LSRJ’s faculty advisor, served as the discussion moderator. Professor Delman asked questions regarding a variety of topics including the intersection of religious texts and legal policy making, the potential effects of the pending Hobby Lobby decision, and how each faith deals with the question of abortion, contraception, and assisted reproduction.
The responses from each panelist were at times, what you would expect but at other times, proved to be surprising. Despite what preconceptions we might have about each faith tradition, each panelist emphasized their traditions respect for existing law and policy and acknowledged the challenges people of faith might face in the course of exercising individual liberties while trying to keep to the tenets of their faith. Each panelist recognized the inherent challenges of living in a contemporary secular society while trying to interpret and apply ancient teachings to present day life.
The panel inspired a variety of questions from the audience, that ranged from the role of corporations in religious practice to the role of religion in the everyday lives of modern professionals. The panelists lingered after the panel to answer individual questions from students and faculty who attended the discussion.
The Reproductive Justice and Religion Panel is LSRJ’s signature spring event and as in past years, this year’s panel drew a diverse audience. LSRJ has worked with a variety of groups and topics this year, and has had the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of individuals. The core focus of LSRJ is to explore the intersection of Reproductive Justice and different aspects of the law. This year, not only has LSRJ focused on issues of Reproductive Justice and Religion, it has also explored the implications of reproductive justice on human trafficking and in education.
LSRJ is currently looking for passionate individuals to take on leadership roles with the organization. Leadership includes guidance and training from LSRJ’s national office, as well as unique opportunities to work with a diverse group of organizations and community members. TJSL’s LSRJ chapter has an active presence in the San Diego legal community and has many successful alums working in many areas of the law.