Dear Spartan Community,
We, in the MSU College of Social Science, firmly believe that reproductive rights – the ability to decide whether and when to have children – is a basic human right across the globe. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade not only erases this right for women and other marginalized bodies, but also threatens their health, access to healthcare, safety, and well-being. When one person’s rights are taken away, we all are diminished. We acknowledge the diversity of opinions many hold on the issue of abortion.
Our college is committed to using social science to transform the human experience. Today’s decision had little foundation on science. It is our obligation to stand firmly to uphold reproductive rights at this critical moment and take actions to help women regain agency over their own bodies and strive to attain equality as citizens in our democracy.
Today our university leadership, President Stanley, Provost Woodruff, Executive Vice President for Administration Woo, and Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Beauchamp emphasized the importance of the university’s commitment to our core values and to ensure that all people can reach their full potential for health and well-being.
Several faculty members in our College have also spoken of the implications of this Supreme Court decision on others, not exclusively women. Carla A. Pfeffer, director of the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health in her statement highlights the effects this will have on the members of the lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary communities. According to Pfeffer, “ … members of these groups often face disproportionately higher rates of unintended and unwanted pregnancy—especially among queer youth. Coupled with higher rates of family rejection and homelessness, access to safe and legal abortion services for those who need them is critical for ensuring physical and mental health.”
Ryan Black, professor of American politics, in the Department of Political Science is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the U.S. Supreme Court. He notes that this decision characterizes the polarization evident in U.S. politics today. “Whether the Court’s outcome in Dobbs v. Jackson makes you want to clap or curse, it demonstrates that the Supreme Court is as polarized as any other branch of the U.S. government — and it is poised to stay that way for the foreseeable future.”
Our social scientists will continue to work together to create an equitable world for all and this critical issue is no exception. Every person deserves the right to safe healthcare and the right to bodily autonomy. We will continue to try and build bridges with each other and avoid the worsening political antagonism on this issue and others in the days and weeks ahead.
Mary A. Finn
Dean, College of Social Science
Michigan State University