Spring 2016

Ending California's Welfare Family Cap
This week the governor and legislators of California repealed the state's welfare family cap through approval of the annual budget.  For over 20 years, the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) Rule has prohibited cash grants for children born into families already receiving CalWORKS.  With the rule lifted, 130,000 children in 95,000 families will now receive an average of $130/month to cover basic needs such as diapers and clothing.  In addition to the material effects for families living in poverty, this development also has symbolic significance in ridding California of what has often been called its most racist, sexist law, which is based on disproven stereotypical notions about welfare recipients and their childbearing motivations.   

This victory comes after four years of tireless advocacy by Senator Holly Mitchell with support from a broad-based coalition of organizations and families impacted by this policy.  As part of the coalition, CRRJ has been working since its inception to
 educate elected officials and the public about the problematic nature and harmful effects of these policies.  To learn more about the MFG Rule of CalWORKS or welfare family caps generally, read CRRJ's issue brief or watch video testimony from a hearing on SB 23 (Mitchell), beginning at minute 16.  

We commend California for joining the six other states to have repealed these offensive, ineffectual, and harmful policies.  May this victory for economic and reproductive justice serve as a beacon of hope for families suffering from welfare family caps in the fifteen states where they remain.  

Serving as Interim Dean
Everyone at CRRJ was delighted and proud when our Faculty Director, Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law Melissa Murray, was named Interim Dean of Berkeley Law in March of this year. Dean Murray was the ideal leader to carry the Berkeley Law community through a challenging season of pivots and transitions.  
Rest assured, CRRJ friends and fans, Dean Murray has not abandoned us, despite this enormous new undertaking.  She continues to provide wonderful guidance and crucial support to CRRJ as Faculty Director.
Contributing as Amici in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt
CRRJ Directors made a variety of contributions to the collection of 45 amicus briefs submitted on behalf of petitioners in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the biggest abortion rights case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court since 1992. The case involves two components of Texas's omnibus anti-abortion bill known as HB2.  Opinion in the case is expected any day.
Faculty Director Melissa Murray authored a brief about the undue material and dignitary burdens imposed by the laws in question. Executive Director Jill E. Adams was a named advisor on Advocates for Youth's amicus brief that tells the stories of various women who have had abortions. CRRJ was one of fourteen amici on a brief that connected legal restrictions on abortion provision with self-induced abortion and its criminalization.   Read more here .

Helping to Plot the Legal Landscape of Self-Induced Abortion

CRRJ convenes the Self-Induced Abortion (SIA) Legal Team, a consortium of organizations using law and policy tools to ensure people throughout the U.S. can end their own pregnancies outside of the formal health system with dignity and safe from the threat of arrest for themselves or anyone who assists them. The SIA Legal Team employs various tactics to improve information relay, support community-based distribution, shift culture, and halt the criminalization of self-induced abortion. Learn more about this timely issue

Weighing in on Current Events

CRRJ faculty and staff are often interviewed by various media outlets on timely reproductive rights and justice issues.  Read what they've been quoted as saying, on the News page of our website.
And, for more in-depth insights into their thoughts on cutting-edge topics, check out these recent blogs and podcast:
Jill E. Adams Selected for Prestigious Fellowship 
Jill E. Adams was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Rockwood Fellowship for Leaders in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice. The Fellows are recognized as key influencers and seasoned leaders who are committed to building partnership and collaboration within the movement.
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