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Statement on Reproductive Justice

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Two weeks ago, the US Supreme Court voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) decision (and subsequent legal cases) that protected, on a federal level, the right for women, girls, and pregnant people to make decisions about their reproductive health, including the deeply personal decision to terminate a pregnancy. The national and global impact of this ruling will alter the lives of children and families for generations. Many in the Department of Psychology condemn the Court’s decision and stand with those who affirm the need for accessible reproductive health services and emphasize the importance of reproductive justice for all.

 

The highest court in the land has stripped people of their reproductive rights, granting states the power to decide what is best for individuals’ bodies and invalidating people’s autonomy to make their own health-care decisions. The removal of this constitutional right—and the subsequent impact of forcing birth—is concerning to many of us working within the psychology field.  Individuals and families are already feeling the psychological, physical, economic, and political impact of restricting access to reproductive healthcare. For example, within one week of the Supreme Court’s ruling, a 10-year-old child in Ohio was denied in-State abortion care and forced to travel beyond her home state for care. The politicized landscape of healthcare now dictates that, in some jurisdictions, a child-rape victim must carry a fetus to term. This is only one story from the many pregnant children and people in the US who now face forced birth. Denial of abortion care, regardless of how one becomes pregnant, is a denial of the right to privacy and bodily autonomy at the most basic level.

As is so often the case, the devastating consequences of restricted rights are not shared equally by our communities. Our colleagues in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) have written an informative and powerful letter delineating some of the major ways in which this regressive ruling disproportionately impacts those who are less likely to have adequate health care access (namely, persons of color, members of LGBTQ+ communities, those living in poverty, among others). That letter can be found here. You can read it to learn more about the historical context, global implications, and troubling inequities that surround this ruling.

The Court’s decision profoundly influences the lives of many members of our psychology community, their families, and their future families. Our current and future colleagues, students, and their partners might  now consider reproductive rights in deciding where they live for fear of not having access to bodily autonomy, dignity, and life-saving healthcare. This may be particularly challenging for graduate students who now face the threat of forced birth on a stipend, adding immeasurable financial burden to an already stressful career and life stage. Restricted healthcare access limits career opportunities, affects psychological well-being, influences decisions about family planning, impacts physical and reproductive health, and exacerbates stress about other rights that are threatened. Indeed, the pervasiveness of transphobia, sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and classism embedded in our social institutions is now emboldened to intensify into action. Many legal scholars have noted that the justification used in the Supreme Court’s decision can be easily applied to overturn other basic rights to privacy (e.g., same-sex marriage, sex education, contraception, gender affirmation).

We acknowledge the pain and stress that this significant ruling has on many in our community. To create space for organizing department members around this issue, we are developing a Justice Leaning Group to operate within the Department’s DEI Committee. The WGSS Department has also shared some resources to help members of our community (see below), but if you need immediate support, please feel free to consult any of the local advocacy groups listed below or contact Kristin Buss who can help you find the right resources. We are committed to working within and beyond our department to use our expertise to advocate for reproductive justice for all.

In Solidarity,

José Soto, Associate Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Kristin Buss, Department Head

 

Local Resources

Student Advocacy Groups:

Planned Parenthood Generation Action @ PSU
Triota Honor Society

Community Agencies:

Centre SAFE

General Resources

PLAN C: Learn to access at-home abortion pill options online (plancpills.org) [educational site about accessing abortion pills and safely managing abortion]

Amazon.com: My Choice Emergency Contraceptive 1 Tablet : Health & Household [purchase PlanB]

Planned Parenthood Keystone [Planned Parenthood of PA]

Verso (versobooks.com) [FREE book: We Organize to Change Everything: Fighting for Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice, edited by Natalie Adler et al. (Verso)]

Reproductive Justice — Sister Song [information on reproductive justice]

M+A HOTLINE [a confidential, private and secure phone and text hotline for people in need of support for self-managed miscarriage or abortion]

If/When/How Repro Legal Helpline [a free, confidential source for legal advice and information on self-managed abortion. Visit ReproLegalHelpline.org or call 844-868-2812]

INeedAnA.com [find a clinic - to find vetted, up to date, and personalized info on how to get an abortion; no search or user data saved]

Guttmacher Institute | Good reproductive health policy starts with credible research [research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights globally]

https://digitaldefensefund.org/ddf-guides/abortion-privacy [info on digital security and abortion]

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/06/29/hhs-issues-guidance-to-protect-patient-privacy-in-wake-of-supreme-court-decision-on-roe.html [info on privacy and period trackers]

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