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The Supreme Court's Decision on Roe v. Wade

Flowers on foreground with amphitheater in background

Dear Swarthmore Community Members,

While reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade are as varied within our community as they are across our broader society, I know that many of you are reeling from the news.

Roe v. Wade has protected women’s right to choose for nearly a half-century, and its reversal is an affront not only to women’s access to health care but to equality and basic human rights. We know, for instance, that the negative consequences of restricting access to reproductive rights disproportionately affect individuals from under-resourced groups. And while the Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization [pdf] states explicitly that the “decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas suggests that this ruling could have far-reaching implications beyond the issue of abortion, extending to issues such as the right to contraception, same-sex sexual relations, and same-sex marriage.

This decision will have devastating effects on women and families in states across the country. In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has vowed to keep a woman’s right to choose intact while he remains in office. The Worth Health Center provides reproductive health care services and resources to Swarthmore students during the academic year, and you may find other health resources for students on the Health Center’s website.

The College also offers a range of resources and support for those of you who may be struggling in the aftermath of the Court’s decision. Student Deans and Student Life staff are available. While the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services is closed for the summer, mental health and emotional support services are still available to students. Students may also contact the Women’s Resource Center for support and resources.

Faculty and staff members may access our employee assistance program, Carebridge. In addition, each of the College’s medical insurance plans through Independence Blue Cross includes mental health benefits through Magellan. Both Carebridge’s and Magellan’s services are secure and confidential.

As a community, we are united in our belief in equality and justice for all. This decision reminds us that progress toward that goal can be painstakingly slow and is not guaranteed. But this reversal must not undermine our commitment. As you cope with this decision and its consequences, I urge you to remain informed, remain engaged, and actively participate in our democracy. At times like these our voices — and our votes — matter most.


Val Smith