Reflecting on the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Recognizing the numerous and nuanced views of individuals, I realize the decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has given rise to consternation and questioning among many members in our community, and a sense of validation among others.

In the aftermath of the decision and in advance of the new academic year, the college will work to ensure that our students, no matter where they come from or how they identify, are aware of the full range of reproductive health care services to which they have access through Student Health Services at Norton Medical Center. Valuing gender equity, civil discourse, and social advocacy, we will take the opportunity to explore the implications of this decision as a learning community this fall semester and beyond.

The court’s erasure of the nearly 50-year-old ruling that established the right to choice changes reproductive health options, makes bodily autonomy a matter of geography, and greatly impacts gender equity. And the reasoning contained in the ruling may indicate that the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and other individuals and groups could be at risk. This potential impact is very distressing. At Wheaton, we affirm the human rights of all members of our community.

Here in Massachusetts, the right to an abortion is not under threat. It has been codified in state law and the governor signed an executive order on Friday to protect health care providers who provide services to patients from states where abortion has become illegal. Nevertheless, the court’s decision will have implications for our community and the nation as a whole.

From the moment the ruling was issued, protestors gathered in the nation’s capital and cities across the country to express opposition or support for the decision. This is a polarizing issue that involves fundamental rights and deeply held personal and religious beliefs.

In this moment, it is important to reiterate our shared values as a learning community that was originally founded to educate and uplift women. Wheaton College remains committed to social justice and seeks to foster a diverse, safe and healthy community where each individual’s rights are respected and their contributions are valued.