Quite simply, I am extremely saddened by the SCOTUS ruling on June 24th, 2022.
My heart is breaking for the millions of women and birthing people across the nation this decision will immediately impact. The ability for people to make their own healthcare decisions and to have reproductive autonomy is absolutely a fundamental right.
No matter how expected the decision may have been, given the politicization of the court, this decision still sends a chill down our collective spines. The women of today are less safe than they were yesterday, and millions of women of tomorrow will now have to face choices not institutionally forced on them for generations.
Reproductive autonomy and abortion are issues inextricably tied to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Access to services, such as prenatal and OBGYN care, contraception, abortion, and assisted reproduction all have major racial and socioeconomic disparities. The already unacceptably high Black maternal mortality rate and general strains on an already overwhelmed healthcare system will be exacerbated by this ruling. The substandard care and ostracization faced by many trans-masculine carriers in our too stringently binary healthcare system will be exacerbated by this ruling. The trauma of forced birth on those who are neurodivergent, or just unable to consent, or are the victims of incest and rape will be exacerbated by this ruling.
The people of New Jersey may not feel the immediate effects of this decision, but I recognize the beautifully diverse tapestry that makes up our graduate student body. Students from every corner of the country choose to come here and be a part of the Rutgers family. Many of you, however, will now return to states for extended periods to visit family, work with colleagues, or conduct research where you are now less free. This does not happen in a vacuum. The constraints now placed on women in Texas, Missouri, Utah, and other states will reverberate across the country.
On issues from voting rights, to the rights of trans people to seek gender affirming care, to reproductive rights, it is clear that we are living through an unprecedented era of a contraction of rights and liberties. This has many of the most vulnerable among us feeling worried about which rights will be stripped next.
As you make decisions for yourselves with respect to how you will organize, protest, and respond to this horrifying ruling, know that I am with you. I am committed to ensuring that the graduate student body has equitable access to services and a means to plan and govern your lives as you see fit. There is a lot of work to be done, and this ruling is not the end. For those in need of immediate care, resources, or wanting to get involved in some way:
The United State of Women Reproductive Justice Hub:
National Network of Abortion Funds:
National Abortion Federation:
Please know that the entire GSA is your support network and we are here if ever you should need to reach out for assistance finding resources or services, or just want to chat. Stay encouraged and stay connected!
Eric N. Chiles
PhD Candidate, Microbial Biology
GSA DEI Committee Chair
Shawn Rumrill, GSA President, email@example.com
Nusrath Yusuf, GSA Executive VP, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Pat Reiter, GSA Treasurer, email@example.com
Dheeraj Goli, GSA Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jodh Singh, GSA Vice President of Events and Programming, email@example.com
Gagan Gowda, GSA Social Media Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie Losada, GSA Senator, email@example.com
Himanshu Waingankar, GSA Events and Office Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashlea Coulter, GSA Blog Manager, email@example.com