June 24, 2022 at 2:35 p.m.

Thoughts on today’s Supreme Court decision

Dear CSSW Community,

For the last few weeks we’ve been holding our collective breath, hoping that our expectations would be proven wrong. We’ve been holding on to hope, while also organizing, and protesting, and collecting resources to be best prepared for the potential public health crisis that has now become a reality. Yesterday, the right to an abortion was guaranteed across the nation; today, that right is gone.

This morning, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. This means that our country is now leaving it up to every state to decide on the safety and well-being of women and families. And with this decision being left to the states, it is anticipated that as many as 13 of them will take immediate steps to criminalize the act, with more to follow suit in the coming weeks and months.

Social workers have a profound understanding of the crisis that lies before us. They have an intimate understanding of the interconnectedness of all our systems and how they impact the most marginalized. Communities of color will be the most impacted, period. Gaining access to safe reproductive services will be an even greater challenge, and health disparities will be further exacerbated. And once abortion is criminalized, people of color will be prosecuted at higher rates.

How did we get here? A recent poll from the Pew Research Center indicates that 61% of the American population supports access to abortion in all or most cases, so this decision does not reflect the values or will of the majority of the people. Instead of focusing on the public health crisis that will surely ensue, many are trying to distract us by framing this as a political issue. Yet this is far from politics. This is a human rights issue; this is a women’s rights issue.

Just yesterday, the Supreme Court gave more rights to gun owners, while today they stripped women of theirs. A handful of unelected officials are using their power to change our lives in stunning ways. These decisions will contribute to compounding public health crises, one on top of another, with the potential to cause severe devastation and make all of us less safe.

This is why advocacy is one of our standing pillars here at the School of Social Work. We don’t have to go far to find those on the front lines doing the work. Here, you can find an article written by CSSW’s own Dr. Anindita Dasgupta outlining the implications of this decision. She encourages those who are willing and able to take a stand as an anti-racist action. As another example, one of our alums, Sasha Ahuja, is leading the charge at Planned Parenthood, organizing across the country.

Take good care of yourselves, and do what is best for you at this moment. For those who want to be in community today and join a rally in support of reproductive rights, there are gatherings in many locations across the nation, including at 6:30 p.m. in Washington Square Park and at 8 p.m. in Union Square for those in the NYC area.

In community,