The Courage to Speak Out

Los Angeles partner Janie Schulman, winner of the 2016 Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles’ Courage Award, became a lawyer to help save the world.

The daughter of two Holocaust survivors, Janie “grew up understanding that the world isn’t always fair or safe.” Because of this, she learned the importance of speaking up for what is right. Her need to speak up for others and to seek justice deeply influenced Janie’s career path.

Earlier this year, Janie had the courage to speak out in defense of protecting women’s reproductive rights, filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, where she described her own experience undergoing a late-term abortion.  

“The idea behind the amicus brief was very simple and really powerful,” explains Janie. “Because of the stigma attached to abortion, many women are reluctant to speak publicly about their experience, and the anti-abortion movement fills the void with their narrative. The amicus brief was conceived as an opportunity to educate the Court and the public about the emotional, physical, social, and economic harm that can be caused when a woman is forced to give birth against her will. It was also an opportunity to show the Court and the public that, with one in three women having abortions at some point in their lives, we all know women who have had abortions. No matter your religious or political beliefs, the women who have had abortions are our friends, relatives, and professional colleagues. The goal of the brief was to help the reader understand that the right to safe and legal access to abortion is integral to women’s lives in terms of their health, family planning, and control of their own destinies and careers.”

Read more of Janie’s profile in the WLALA newsletter here.