Dana Cody Steps Down as LLDF Executive Director

Cody Led LLDF into the New Millennium

In March this year Dana Cody stepped down from her position as Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. During her 18 years as LLDF’s Executive Director, Dana has been a powerful voice for innocent and helpless human beings of any age and has helped provide them with a trained and committed legal defense. Chairman John Streett noted that, “Dana led us into the new millennium and under her leadership helped transform the organization from its limited focus on free speech and abortion clinic cases, defending pro-lifers in the courts, into a broader mission of including defense of the elderly and injured who are facing forced death.” Dana played an instrumental role in LLDF’s landmark Wendland case which was a major win in the California Supreme Court, setting precedent for denial of care cases. Similarly, Dana fought relentlessly in the tragic Terri Schiavo case, helping to cast a national spotlight on the ethics of denying nutrition and hydration to vulnerable people and the value of human life regardless of physical impairment. Dana was the face of LLDF for nearly two decades. She was fearless in confronting the media whether on television, radio, or in print. She wouldn’t back down in her defense of the defenseless. She broadened LLDF’s image from a West Coast pro-life group into a well-respected national force.

Dana expanded LLDF’s reach into “Brave New World” issues such as embryonic stem cell research. She was co-counsel in People’s Advocate v. ICOC, a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine which was formed by Proposition 71 to conduct human embryonic stem cell research using six billion dollars of taxpayer funds.

Dana began her lifetime passion for life as a lay counselor to women in crisis pregnancies, then fulfilled her passion to protect women and children victimized by abortion by obtaining her law degree from Western State University in 1994. After graduating from law school, she accepted a post-graduate fellowship with the Rutherford Institute, organized to protect religious liberty and free speech rights. After passing the bar, Dana continued as staff counsel for Rutherford’s Western Regional Office. After leaving Rutherford, she was retained as a consultant to the California Assembly Education Committee, then chaired by pro-life Assembly Member Steve Baldwin. Baldwin was a member of the Assembly Health Committee, which allowed Dana to consult with him on life issues. In 1996, Dana accepted the invitation to serve as a board member of Life Legal Defense Foundation and in 1997 she was named LLDF’s Executive Director.

Dana served as an adjunct professor at Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, California, having taught the course The Right to Life and the Law. She also served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Sacramento Superior Court at the Carol Miller Justice Center.

The LLDF Board of Directors extends its sincere thanks and deep appreciation to Dana for her many years of dedicated service to LLDF. She will be missed!


Originally published in Lifeline Vol. XXIV, No. 2 (Summer 2015)