Message on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade and with it the outcomes of 50-years of civil rights and gender equity struggles in the United States. Reproductive rights will now be determined by the states, and several states have already made severe restrictions in health services, while other states continue to provide abortion access. Pending the outcome of the referendum on the constitutional amendment on August 2, abortion is legal in the state of Kansas.
We urge you all as campus constituents to educate yourselves on the impact and aftermath of ending federal abortion rights on health outcomes in the United States. We also urge you to participate in the political process. These are decisions that must be informed by our voices.   
We recognize that there are significant differences of opinion around this issue. However, Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land and many of your colleagues and fellow students have structured their lives and made decisions on the basis of the healthcare access it afforded. When a law with an impact of such magnitude is struck down, that decision can disrupt someone’s very sense of the world and their sense of personal autonomy. 
Inevitable questions have also arisen around what additional rights might no longer be safe, which can leave members of the community feeling justifiably vulnerable. These vulnerabilities are further compounded by intersecting race, class, religion, gender, and more social identities. While some may be able to travel readily to another state to receive essential healthcare services, others, especially those in underrepresented communities, now confront significant socioeconomic barriers.
The work of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging is centered on fostering a campus climate that is equitable and grounded in human rights. In a moment of social discord and political divide in the United States, part of our responsibility is to the educate the campus about systemic inequity and oppression across ideological and political perspectives. This work begins in the DEIB office, but this work is also the work we must all do for and with each other.
The implications of this moment for civil rights in our country are monumental. Inclusive access to reproductive healthcare requires continued education and literacy to ensure equity. We encourage our campus community to explore educational resources (below). As we help our campus understand inclusive language surrounding pregnancy, family planning and equitable healthcare for individuals of all gender identities, we encourage you to utilize resources as you take time and space to process this news that presents a fundamental shift in human rights that will impact generations across social, cultural, and political perspectives. What fortifies research institutions like KU to prepare the next generation of leaders in the 21st century is precisely the advancement of critical discourse by facilitating and researching divergent, convergent, and often conflicting perspectives.


Nicole Hodges Persley, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Ani Kokobobo, University Senate President
Nate Brunsell, Faculty Senate President 
Jessica Chilcoat, Staff Senate President
Sadie Williams, Student Senate President




Edited on July 6 to revise university resources.