In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, The Cancer Letter has compiled comments from U.S. cancer centers, advocacy groups, professional societies, and medical journals.
If you would like your institution’s or group’s statement included, please contact us. This list will continue to be updated.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Policy on abortion, revised May 2022
All people should have access to the full spectrum of comprehensive, evidence-based health care. Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive, evidence-based health care. As the leading medical organization dedicated to the health of individuals in need of gynecologic and obstetric care, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) supports the availability of high-quality reproductive health services for all people and is committed to protecting and increasing access to abortion.
ACOG strongly opposes any effort that impedes access to abortion care and interferes in the relationship between a person and their healthcare professional. Because the patient-clinician relationship is a critical component of the provision of the highest quality healthcare, any efforts interfering in this relationship harm the people seeking essential healthcare and those providing it. As such, clinicians should not be subject to criminal penalties, lawsuits, fines or other punishments for providing the full spectrum of evidence-based care. ACOG condemns stigma, violence, intimidation and threats against doctors, clinicians, and members of their professional teams and families.
ACOG supports every person’s right to decide whether to have children, the number and spacing of children, and to have the information, education, and access to health services to make these decisions. Individuals seeking abortion must be afforded privacy, dignity, respect, and support, and should be able to make their medical decisions without undue interference by outside parties. ACOG advocates to improve access to full-spectrum reproductive services, to integrate abortion as a component of mainstream medical care, and to oppose and overturn efforts restricting access to abortion.
American College of Radiology
The American College of Radiology (ACR) supports the privacy and integrity of the physician-patient relationship. Physicians have a responsibility to recommend appropriate care for all clinical circumstances based on the best available evidence and careful consultation with their patients. The relationship between physicians and their patients is sacred; it must not be jeopardized by non-medical outside interference, including federal, state and local government intrusions beyond public health measures. Instead, physicians, legislators, regulators and patients must work together to ensure access to safe, effective and equitable healthcare for all patients.
American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has long opposed governmental interference in the clinical practice of medicine and in the privileged physician-patient relationship. The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health will allow states to eliminate access to reproductive services for women and will jeopardize the autonomy of this relationship. We are concerned that this decision will impact the availability of comprehensive and safe reproductive healthcare services.
Patients, along with their physicians, must be primarily in control of medical decisions unimpeded by government interference. All patients must be afforded the right to make individual, informed healthcare choices, including reproductive services.
Surgeons, and physicians of all specialties, must be free to practice medicine, informed by medical education, experience, and scientific evidence, without fear of the care being criminalized. Physicians must not be placed at risk of persecution or prosecution for providing patient-centered care.
Access to healthcare is essential for optimal quality and safety. The American College of Surgeons recognizes that the health of patients suffers when access to care is restricted. Moreover, when health care access is restricted, the impact is greater on those who are already underserved. Accordingly, the ACS urges the passage of legislation that ensures full access to safe reproductive healthcare for all patients.
The American College of Surgeons will always advocate for the practice of evidence-based care, and oppose any interference by the government or any other entity in the patient-physician relationship.
American Medical Women’s Association
AMWA Opposes Decision to Overturn Roe v Wade
Prohibiting Access to Abortion Endangers Patients Lives and Prevents Physicians from Practicing Evidenced-Based Care
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is gravely concerned about the far reaching impact of today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the restriction of access to reproductive healthcare. This decision allows legislators to make healthcare decisions on behalf of patients.
Contrary to what was stated in the majority opinion, abortions performed by trained healthcare practitioners are safe and can be life-saving. Medication abortions, which are done early in pregnancy, can be performed safely in the clinic or at home. As history has shown illegal abortions can be dangerous and life-threatening.
AMWA supports access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. Decisions about abortion — just as with all medical decisions — should be made between patients and their physician or healthcare practitioner. The nuances and considerations involved in abortion care go far beyond what can be addressed through public discourse. Just as other complex healthcare decisions cannot and should not be decided by politicians or justices, neither should decisions about abortion.
This Supreme Court decision will have unintended consequences in other areas, such as in vitro fertilization, the care of frozen or unsuccessful embryos, treatment of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, cancer therapy, and other life saving measures. These factors impact the decision regarding abortion.
The American Medical Women’s Association stands firm in the right of individuals to access comprehensive reproductive healthcare, which includes abortion.
Association of American Cancer Institutes
Last week’s Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson reversed the 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade, allowing individual states to determine access to abortion.
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) advocates for state and federal policies that promote health equity for people with cancer.
Restricted access to abortion services disproportionately impacts communities of color, sexual and gender minorities, residents of rural communities, and other groups that experience cancer disparities.
As state leaders weigh the implications of the Supreme Court decision, we urge them to consider its ripple effects on access to quality cancer prevention, screening, and treatment services.
Screening and early detection
AACI opposes any restrictions on health facilities that also jeopardize access to life-saving, affordable cancer screenings and early detection tools, including mammograms and Pap tests.
In some cases, cancer treatment requires access to abortion. For example, chemotherapy is not safe in the first trimester and some other cancer therapies are unsafe at any stage of pregnancy. The decision to terminate a pregnancy in order to pursue cancer treatment should rest with the patient and their treating physician. AACI supports timely access to effective treatment for all patients with cancer, regardless of pregnancy status.
Because many cancer treatments can affect fertility, young adults with cancer are often advised to freeze fertilized embryos before initiating treatment. AACI supports access to assisted reproductive technologies for patients whose cancer treatments may impact their fertility.
American Society of Clinical Oncology
ASCO is committed to the delivery of medically appropriate, equitable, evidence-based cancer care. For patients of child-bearing age, a cancer diagnosis raises medical considerations around pregnancy and fertility preservation. Every patient should have the ability to pursue, in partnership with their oncologist, all treatment options that offer the best chance of a successful outcome for their cancer.
Unfortunately, the implementation of laws based on the Dobbs decision could limit these options. ASCO is working to help our members navigate this new situation and preserve their patients’ access to the highest quality care by providing evidence-based clinical guidance, including for fertility preservation, and by advocating for access to all the components of high-quality care.
An editorial by Julie Gralow, chief medical officer and executive vice president of ASCO, appears here.
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine
For decades, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine have advised the nation on many issues related to maternal and reproductive health, unintended pregnancy, prenatal care, racial and ethnic disparities in health care, and abortion. In light of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the National Academies are committed to mobilizing the scientific, medical, and health care communities to identify actions that can mitigate the potential negative impacts of this decision and that can advance health equity.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade will likely make it even more difficult for women* to access high-quality health care in this country. The risks are especially acute for women of color, women from low-income backgrounds, and women living in rural areas.
The U.S. already has one of the highest maternal mortality rates of any developed country, especially for women of color, and state laws and regulations limiting or impacting abortion create more barriers to obtaining safe and effective reproductive care. In addition, women with unintended pregnancies are less likely to receive needed prenatal care, can be at higher risk for medical complications, and are more likely to experience poor neonatal outcomes. In states that ban or severely limit access to abortion, geographic inequities are likely to worsen and widen the gap between women who can access safe abortion and those who cannot.
The nation must act urgently and redouble efforts to improve maternal and reproductive health and increase access to quality health care for all.
President, National Academy of Sciences
Victor J. Dzau
President, National Academy of Medicine
*The term ‘women’ is used for the purposes of this statement; however, the National Academies recognize and understand that the term ‘pregnant women’ or ‘woman’ may not reflect how some pregnant individuals or others seeking reproductive health care may identify.
Oncology Nursing Society
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson, reversing the decision from the 1973 case, Roe v. Wade. Many nursing, medical, and health organizations issued statements in reaction, and opinions among ONS stakeholders and constituents will differ on the decision. As it leads an organization that represents oncology nurses and advocates for patient-centered care, the ONS Board of Directors reviews social and political issues through the lens of the Society’s mission. With that perspective, the ONS Board believes that two statements from other organizations are important for members to know.
First, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued a statement regarding the potential impact on patients with cancer and their families outside of the legal aspects of the case. ACS’s position is in alignment with the ONS mission, and the ONS Board endorses it. The statement identifies three specific concerns for consideration and possible action at the state level. Many ONS chapters are active in their communities and may want to discuss adding these to their advocacy efforts.
Second, the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a statement expressing concerns about the ruling, including the potential that subsequent laws could jeopardize the patients-provider relationship, including those with nurses. In the statement, ANA also reminded nurses of their ethical obligations and the importance of showing empathy and respect to all.
Finally, for additional perspective on how the decision relates to ONS’s mission, members should refer to the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitment statement authored by the ONS, Oncology Nursing Foundation, and Oncology Certification Corporation Boards. Our corporations are committed to supporting all oncology nurses and ensuring an inclusive environment where all opinions and perspectives are shared and heard.
Society for Gynecologic Oncology
SGO commits to policy action and advocacy in defense of reproductive rights
May 4, 2022 – The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) denounces the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion released by the media on Monday, May 2, that would potentially overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which has been the legal precedent in this country since 1973. Consistent with SGO’s mission and Principles for Health Care Reform, SGO opposes any ruling that restricts a person’s access to health care and criminalizes the practice of medicine. This ruling ultimately poses a serious threat to the physician-patient relationship, and subsequent decision making necessary to ensure optimal outcomes for patients. As practitioners, we should be free to provide what is in the best interest of our patients. Given that this ruling could result in near-total bans on abortion in over 25 states, the SGO opposes this decision and, along with like-minded organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity (CORE) and others, commits to policy action and advocacy to ensure that every patient’s medical treatment is managed by professional health care practitioners instead of elected officials and politically-appointed judges.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society Highlights Impact of Dobbs v. Jackson Ruling on Cancer Patients and Their Families
June 24, 2022 – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a long-awaited decision on Dobbs v. Jackson, which reverses the 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade and returns the issue of the right to access abortion services to the states.
As a nonprofit entity whose mission is improving the lives of people with cancer and their families, the American Cancer Society isn’t taking sides on the decision. However, the decision will impact cancer patients and their families and is likely to disproportionately affect communities of color.
We believe everyone, no matter where they live, should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Therefore, we ask states to address the following considerations:
Cancer treatment for pregnant patients
When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it is critical they receive immediate care. Up to 1 in 1,000 pregnant women each year receive a cancer diagnosis. We know timely cancer treatment improves a person’s chances of survivorship. As some states signal a determination to define personhood at fertilization, we are concerned about potential threats to a pregnant woman’s ability to receive rapid cancer treatment. Every patient should be able to increase their likelihood to survive cancer by having the option to start cancer therapy immediately, regardless of pregnancy status.
Cancer patients should also have the right to preserve fertility prior to initiating cancer treatment. More than 60,000 young adults aged 20-39 are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US. Treatments for many of the younger adults may directly impact their ability to conceive children. For this population, fertility preservation becomes an important medical consideration. Approximately 5%-6% of the population in childbearing age consists of cancer survivors. Experts recommend freezing fertilized embryos for fertility preservation. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) currently supports state policies to expand insurance coverage of fertility preservation services for cancer patients.
Screening and prevention
We also understand the vital importance of early screening and detection of cancer in improving a person’s chances of surviving the disease. We oppose any action that results in limiting the number of institutions or clinics where people can receive access to affordable screening and early diagnosis.
We urge all states to consider the above ramifications for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN will be actively monitoring the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision and will continue to advocate for timely access to affordable screening services, evidence-based treatment, and fertility preservation for all, regardless of geography.
An editorial by Karen Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, appears here.
Susan G. Komen works tirelessly to eliminate barriers to care. Advancing health equity and eliminating barriers to care is one of our strategic imperatives. We strive to empower cancer patients to know the facts and partner with us as a trusted resource so they can get access to high-quality care—and they never have to face cancer alone.
Everyone deserves the best possible care when you are dealing with breast cancer.
Any ruling or other actions that add another barrier to much-needed care could have devastating effects on cancer patients throughout the country.
Research indicates that timely cancer treatment improves a person’s chances of survivorship. When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it is critical they receive immediate care, regardless of pregnancy status.
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) advocates for survivors of all forms of cancer to have access to quality cancer care. Ensuring access to quality care begins with open and candid communication between patients and physicians about the patient’s diagnosis, underlying health status, comorbidities, goals of treatment, and medically appropriate, evidence-based treatment options. For some cancer patients, doctor-patient communication and shared decision-making will include consideration of pregnancy, fertility, and abortion.
The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruling Roe v. Wade and actions by the states after the decision will limit access to appropriate care and stifle open communication between health professionals and cancer patients that supports patient-centered decision-making and care. Patients should not be denied care that may save their lives, and health professionals should not fear legal action for offering evidence-based and comprehensive medical advice to their patients. However, we are concerned that this is the situation that may face patients and cancer care professionals. Patients cannot be assured access to quality care if they receive incomplete information about their own diagnosis and the treatment options and if they are denied care that may optimize their outcomes.
Bethany Ross, a young adult survivor of stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer, explained what the Dobbs decision and state actions following the decision mean to cancer patients, “For those of you saying what does this matter for cancer care, do you realize when someone gets diagnosed with cancer while pregnant they often have to make the decision to abort or delay starting treatment which then could kill them and no child is born. Also for people like me, I have Stage IV cancer, a forced birth could quite literally kill me. This is 100% a cancer care issue!”
Dr. Ana Maria López, medical oncologist and NCCS board member, added, “Patients with a diagnosis of cancer face many difficult challenges. By preventing physicians from speaking directly and honestly regarding care options, patients with cancer face an additional life-threatening burden—diminished health outcomes.”
We encourage policymakers who are evaluating next steps in the wake of the Dobbs decision to consider the impact of their legislative and regulatory proposals on cancer patients, their families and friends, and the multidisciplinary team of cancer care professionals who treat them. Limiting the flow of accurate and complete medical information and advice and blocking access to essential elements of cancer care may result in grave harm to cancer patients and may reverse progress in improving the nation’s cancer outcomes.
The following joint statement was issued today by Stupid Cancer’s Board of Directors and co-signed by Bright Spot Network, Cactus Cancer Society, Cervivor, Elephants and Tea, Escape, Family Reach, Fuck Cancer, Imerman Angels, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Teen Cancer America, True North Treks, and The Ulman Foundation.
Stupid Cancer and its Board of Directors is committed to the empowerment of people affected by adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer. As patient advocacy organizations serving AYA patients, we join the medical community in fully renouncing any efforts to limit or remove access to safe abortion care. Abortion is a safe and essential healthcare right. Patients with cancer may face many difficult choices in their treatment journey. Patients who learn of a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy often must choose between continuing pregnancy (delaying essential life-saving treatments) and termination of pregnancy. Surgeries or medical treatment for cancer that could also result in loss of pregnancy would be considered abortion under certain state laws. This threatens the patient’s ability to receive cancer care in a timely fashion. Additionally, the continued interference of state legislatures into individuals’ personal healthcare decisions undermines the principles of the patient-physician relationship. These decisions are personal and should be made by patients in discussion with their medical team and not limited by legal consideration.
Changes occurring in state laws (Texas SB8, Oklahoma HB4327) and the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization raise grave concerns regarding access to abortion care in this country. Multiple leading medical organizations including American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), Society for Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), North American Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (NASPAG) and Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) have denounced the opinions of this ruling. Given trigger laws in effect in at least 25 states, swift and immediate loss of abortion access is expected. A joint statement from NASPAG/SAHM4 outlines how these changes would affect adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients in particular.
AYA patients undergoing cancer care often consider options for preserving their fertility prior to cancer therapies, including freezing embryos. Given the confusion and misconceptions that anti-abortion legislation has caused and more recent bans starting with fertilization, we also have grave concerns that these laws and those that follow will limit the ability of patients to access fertility preservation techniques and have control over reproductive decision making of their stored tissue in the future. Finally, given misconceptions about the mechanisms of actions of many of the most effective contraceptive methods (including emergency contraceptives), we have serious concerns about the potential for limitations on AYA patients’ access to the best form of contraception for them.
We, the undersigned, are patient advocacy nonprofit organizations supporting AYA patients and their loved ones. We remain committed to advocating for the AYA community to have resources to navigate treatment and survivorship on their own terms, inclusive of access to abortion care.
Stupid Cancer, Inc.
Bright Spot Network
Cactus Cancer Society
Elephants and Tea
Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Teen Cancer America
True North Treks
The Ulman Foundation
New England Journal of Medicine
Editorial: “Lawmakers v. The Scientific Realities of Human Reproduction”
Editorial: “The US Supreme Court abortion verdict is a tragedy. This is how research organizations can help”
The following list is broken down alphabetically by state, with New York Times data on the current status of abortion bans and gestational limits. This is accurate as of Friday, July 1.
States where no cancer center or health system could be reached for comment are included.
Alabama (ban in effect)
Arizona (ban blocked, gestational limit goes into effect in September)
Arkansas (ban in effect)
University of California
For nearly 50 years, people in the United States have had the right to make private, informed choices about their health care and their futures. I am gravely concerned that today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision removes that right and will endanger lives across the country. This decision overturns decades of legal precedent and could pave the way for other fundamental rights to be removed.
The Court’s decision is antithetical to the University of California’s mission and values. We strongly support allowing individuals to access evidence-based health care services and to make decisions about their own care in consultation with their medical team. Despite this decision by the Court, we will continue to provide the full range of health care options possible in California, including reproductive health services, and to steadfastly advocate for the needs of our patients, students, staff, and the communities we serve. We will also continue to offer comprehensive education and training to the next generation of health care providers, and to conduct life-saving research to the fullest extent possible.
This is a sobering moment for many of us at the University of California and throughout the nation. Today, we stand with California leaders and health care advocates who are taking critical steps to protect Californians’ human rights and their access to affordable and convenient health care choices.
Michael V. Drake, MD
President, University of California
UC San Diego
We are deeply troubled by the long-term ramifications for reproductive rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
With this decision, the Court has overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions that have protected a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare for nearly 50 years. Many are rightfully troubled that this reversal may mean the Supreme Court will review—and potentially overturn—cases relying on similar reasoning that led the federal government to recognize other civil rights.
Earlier today, President Michael V. Drake released a statement expressing the University of California’s grave concern regarding the Court’s ruling, which is antithetical to the University of California’s mission and values. The University of California strongly supports allowing individuals to access necessary health care services and to make decisions about their own care in consultation with their medical team.
UC San Diego Health will continue to provide patients and students with access to comprehensive reproductive health services and will continue to partner with community organizations and Planned Parenthood for more complex cases.
UC San Diego is investigating the development of wrap-around services to alleviate difficulties created by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
We are grateful that lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that would protect reproductive rights in our state and grateful that Gov. Gavin Newsom has indicated his complete support.
Support Resources for Students and Employees
News of this nature affects members of our community in different ways. Your Triton community is here for you and ready to help. Students seeking immediate mental health and coping support may reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (858) 534-3755.
Campus employees can contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at (858) 534-5523. UC San Diego Health employees can call (866) 808-6205, company code UCSDMC or review information pertaining to the Employee Assistance Program on Health HR’s website.
Our country has made great strides over the past 50 years, yet as we are experiencing today, that progress is fragile and being threatened. We must all continue toward making a reality an envisioned future that is more just and equitable, protecting and advancing human and civil rights for all people.
Pradeep K. Khosla
Becky R. Petitt
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Patricia S. Maysent
Chief Executive Officer for UC San Diego Health
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center supports the statement of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI). Restricted access to abortion services may disproportionate impact vulnerable communities that experience health disparities, including cancer. We urge state leaders to consider carefully the effects of their decisions on access to quality cancer prevention, screening, and cancer care.
Yale Cancer Center
For many of us, the recent Supreme Court decision threatening a woman’s right to have control over her reproductive health is intensely disturbing. There are profound consequences of this ruling, and we have already seen reflex laws enacted in 11 states, which ban or severely restrict a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy. The social inequities and health care disparities resulting from this decision are monumental: the impact will be far, far greater for poor women than those with financial resources, far greater for women lacking an education than those who are well-educated, and far greater for underserved minorities—largely Black and Latina women—than those who are white. And we are all struck and saddened by our intensely divided nation.
As a cancer physician, a cancer patient advocate, and a cancer researcher, I want to focus on the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on patients with cancer, their families, and their clinicians. Sadly, there are settings in cancer medicine where the politics of abortion rights directly collide with what may be best for our patients. First, it is estimated that approximately one in a thousand pregnancies is complicated by a diagnosis of cancer. This can be a new diagnosis of cancer or a recurrence of a previous diagnosis. In either case, pregnancy may complicate the optimal course of cancer therapy. For example, can we effectively treat a 24-year-old woman with a new diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia who is also 8 weeks pregnant? Moreover, being pregnant may simply be more than a woman can sustain emotionally or physically in the context of a cancer diagnosis, even if the appropriate therapy can be administered. Second, a pregnant woman may be confronted with a cancer diagnosis in her partner, child, parent, or another close relationship. The situations will vary, but it is possible that some women will want to choose whether to be pregnant while providing intensive support and care to a loved one. Finally, a woman with a history of cancer, albeit in good health, may decide that having a child is simply not the right choice for her. In each of these cases, there is an impact on the family as well as the patient. As health care professionals trying to take the best possible care of our patients, we are all denied the ability to counsel our patients and participate in shared decision-making about one of the most important areas of a woman’s life.
There is little question in my mind that the Supreme Court decision and subsequent laws passed by individuals states will threaten our ability to provide the best care to pregnant women who are also touched by cancer. Tragically, the impact of the Supreme Court ruling will disproportionately affect those who are already faced with health care and cancer disparities. No matter what your own personal views are about abortion rights, I hope you will join with me in raising concern about the potentially harmful effects of Roe v. Wade’s overturn on patients and families who are affected by cancer. YCC/Smilow will be honored to provide cancer care to any woman who moves to Connecticut to exercise her reproductive rights and is in need of our services.
Eric P. Winer, MD
Alfred Gilman Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Director, Yale Cancer Center
Physician-in-Chief, Smilow Cancer Network
President, American Society of Clinical Oncology
District of Columbia (legal)
Florida (gestational limit goes into effect July 1)
Georgia (gestational limit expected soon)
Dear Emory Community,
Today, the Supreme Court made a historic ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, ending nearly 50 years of constitutional protection for women seeking abortions across the United States. The significance of this decision is being processed across the country and also within the Emory community. I recognize and respect that there are a wide range of perspectives, but today, many people are shaken by the understanding that women may no longer have access to the reproductive care they need—count me among them.
The Supreme Court ruling will affect legislation in many states, including Georgia. As a university and as an employer, Emory is highly likely to face new limits on the reproductive health care coverage we can offer our students, faculty, and staff. We are working closely with partner organizations throughout the state to review and adapt to these changes. We are also collaborating with national associations to make sure health care students, residents, fellows, and providers can continue to train in—and practice—world-class obstetrics at Emory.
A university is a place where we can discuss and study the issues that so often divide us—abortion is no exception. Many of Emory’s scholars have brought their expertise to what has, and will continue to be, a long-running debate.
The role of higher education is to create and share knowledge and, in this moment, we cannot look away from what the facts and data tell us. Peer-reviewed studies and research, including scholarship led and authored by Emory faculty, have shown, time and again, that limiting access to reproductive health care has a range of negative ramifications. The effects of restrictive abortion laws have the greatest impact on low-income women and women of color, who are often underserved by our nation’s health care system.
Many women in America today have lived all, or most, of their lives with Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. Now there will be less protection in place for women’s rights, and it’s hard to see this as anything but a painful regression.
I realize that many members of the Emory community will not appreciate this message because of strongly held beliefs that do not align with the sentiments I’ve shared above. I want you to know that I and the university unequivocally support your right to hold and express your views.
To everyone, please show consideration for your colleagues and fellow community members. I ask that we treat each other with compassion and understanding. We each have different experiences and perspectives at Emory, but we are united by the same mission—to serve humanity.
Gregory L. Fenves
Dear faculty, staff, and students,
Earlier today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade. This ruling ends the constitutional right to abortions for women in the United States and grants states individual autonomy to set their own laws regarding abortion access and restrictions. We hope you read the message President Fenves sent today and we wanted to provide additional information as leaders in the health sciences.
We recognize and respect that there are strongly held beliefs within our community on both sides of this decision. This is a deeply emotional and personal issue, and we understand that people are responding from their own viewpoints and experiences. It is important that we treat each other with respect, no matter our differing points of view, and that we continue our mission to promote and improve health at a local and global level.
As leaders in educating future health care and public health professionals, researching reproductive health equity and delivering clinical care, our perspective on abortion and all aspects of reproductive health is based on data and science. The overwhelming evidence from research conducted here at Emory and elsewhere shows women’s health improves when health services are safe and accessible. This same research shows that when access is limited, there are detrimental effects on women’s health, most notably among underrepresented minorities and those from low-income homes who are historically underserved by our nation’s health care system. At the same time, we also understand that for some, science does not define when life begins and that there are those for whom consideration of this timing rises above all others.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to support and train the public health, nursing, and medical workforce who conduct research, deliver clinical care, and promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities at home and throughout the world. We are similarly unified in supporting health care delivery systems that increase health equity and access to care and decrease health inequities. This includes providing academic offerings, clinical services, and research programs facilitated by our schools as it relates to women’s health.
The legal and medical landscape at this time is uncertain. We are assessing the impact this decision will have on our programs, students, faculty, staff, and patients and will keep you updated on how the unfolding situation will affect us.
We recognize this news may be distressing to some and welcomed by others – creating a challenging environment for our community. Below is a list of Emory-provided mental health and wellness services that are available. Please continue to treat yourselves and each other with kindness, respect and grace.
James W. Curran, MD, MPH
James W. Curran Dean of Public Health
M. Daniele Fallin, PhD
Incoming James W. Curran Dean of Public Health
Linda A. McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD
Dean and Woodruff Professor
Emory School of Medicine
Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, FACR
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
CEO and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare
Idaho (ban expected soon)
All patients have a fundamental right to comprehensive health care. And, at Northwestern Medicine, we believe these decisions should be made by patients in collaboration with their physicians. We will continue to offer access to all reproductive health care in compliance with state and federal law.
As an academic health system based in Illinois, where abortion remains legal, and the only hospital-based abortion provider on Chicago’s South Side, the University of Chicago Medicine plays an essential role for the community and for patients needing high-quality care.
Our organization has a lengthy record of providing high-quality, evidence-based reproductive healthcare and a strong reputation of training the brightest future physicians to offer these clinical services to patients. This involves a broad range of medical care, including abortion, contraception/family planning, fertility treatment, care for general and high-risk pregnancies, and miscarriage management. These are common services that are integral to obstetrical and gynecological medicine and a vital part of comprehensive medical education for physicians in training.
Our health system remains committed to providing the full spectrum of safe reproductive healthcare and is preparing for how we can best serve patients who travel to Illinois to seek our care and services.
UI Health Care
As of today, Iowa law has not changed: medications and procedures that prevent and terminate pregnancy remain legal and accessible, as well as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
If you have reproductive health questions, talk to your doctor to learn about your options and available resources. You can schedule an appointment with our OB-GYN clinic at 319-356-2294.
Kansas (uncertain, ballot initiative in August)
Kentucky (ban in effect)
Following today’s Supreme Court decision, the University of Kentucky, including UK HealthCare, is reviewing and analyzing all aspects of the decision to determine any implications in our current practices and procedures. However, state law already had prohibited the University of Kentucky from performing abortions except where the mother’s life is at risk.
Louisiana (ban blocked)
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
As you have seen, the U.S. Supreme Court released its long-anticipated decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which signals a profound shift in laws governing access to abortion, with significant and variable ramifications in states across the nation. As a major employer in Maryland with a presence in the National Capital Region and in Florida, and as a leading provider of clinical care, including health and well-being services to our students, we take seriously our obligation to the many populations we serve. We have been monitoring closely the outcome of this decision and its implications for the provision of reproductive health care.
To the fullest extent allowed under the law, our institutions will continue to be guided by the evidence-based best practices established by medical and public health faculty experts and practitioners, which make clear that access to safe, legal abortion is critical for the health of individuals, families, and communities. We will continue to keep all of you informed in the coming days of any further impacts of this change in the legal landscape, but at this time we can offer the following guidance on the implications of the court’s decision on Hopkins employees, students, and patients:
- We will continue to offer the same full range of services and support that we do today in accordance with legal requirements for our patients, including for all students who receive health care through university-based health services.
- We are currently reviewing the decision and its impacts on other areas in which we operate. You will hear more from your divisions and our HR Benefits teams regarding any potential changes to benefits for employees who may be in states where access to services is curtailed.
We recognize that members of our community will experience this decision and its impacts in profoundly different ways. As always, we care deeply about the well-being and health of all members of our community. If you require further guidance or have more questions about the decision and its affect on your work, our HR colleagues are standing by at the health system’s HR Solution Center (443-997-5400 or [email protected]) and at JHU Benefits Services (410-516-2000 or [email protected]). We also urge any staff and faculty members who would benefit from mental health support to seek the care they need through JHU mySupport and JHM Resources. Students should refer to this list of current services provided by the Office of Student Health and Well-Being, including mental health services.
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Vice President, Human Resources
Johns Hopkins University
Vice Provost, Student Health and Well-Being
Johns Hopkins University
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
I stand alongside many of you who are feeling grave trepidation at the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The dissolution of this 1973 landmark decision means that millions of people across America have been denied the right to private, accessible, and safe reproductive health care services as abortion rights will now be determined at the state level.
As a country, we now stand in the face of a perilous public health and human service crisis, and an issue of social and economic justice with momentous and far-reaching implications that will affect each of us differently, but undoubtedly affect us all.
For many of us or our loved ones, autonomy over our bodies, empowerment over reproductive health care, and the privacy associated with both are now vulnerable in new and foreign ways. The added barriers to services create an unnecessary emotional toll to the already difficult circumstances of those in our care. This is especially poignant for historically marginalized groups who already face a myriad of unfair and unnecessary barriers that limit their access to care.
We remain fully committed to being an inclusive organization and a leader in eliminating health disparities in our communities. We are working closely with our elected officials and others to determine how we can use our voice as an advocate for each other, our patients, and our mission—protecting access to critical health care and reducing the barriers to care for all.
Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
President and CEO Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Masonic Cancer Center
The Masonic Cancer Center and the University of Minnesota support comprehensive health care for women and access to high-quality care for all. As a medical oncologist, I know that women facing a new diagnosis of cancer while pregnant have critical, life-altering decisions that need to be made.
Having a full choice of options, including pregnancy termination, must be maintained if we are to provide the highest standard of cancer care available. I am fortunate to practice in a state where our governor is fully committed to defending abortion rights.
Douglas Yee, MD
Director, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota
Mississippi (ban goes into effect July 7)
Missouri (ban in effect)
Siteman Cancer Center
Siteman Cancer Center aligns with BJC HealthCare and Washington University Physicians in our commitment to providing safe and medically appropriate care for our pregnant patients in accordance with federal and state law. As we navigate new legal bounds, we fully support our physicians, nurses and medical staff responsible for these complex decisions.
New Hampshire (legal)
Dartmouth Health is unwavering in its belief in the sanctity of the patient-provider relationship to make the best-informed decisions for patients to reflect their needs and healthcare priorities.
We also strongly believe that abortion is an essential component of healthcare. Like all medical matters, decisions regarding abortion should be made by patients in consultation with their healthcare providers. Abortion remains legal and accessible in New Hampshire and Vermont, and Dartmouth Health will continue to provide this care as part of our commitment to our patients.
New Jersey (legal)
New Mexico (legal)
University of New Mexico Health
UNM Health remains committed to providing accessible, high-quality, safe and comprehensive care to its patients. This includes reproductive health care services. We will continue to monitor volumes and capacity in this regard and work with other local organizations to meet the need.
We are dedicated to continuing to provide reproductive health care services to all those who need it in New Mexico. We are also committed to teaching tomorrow’s doctors, advancing medicine and fulfilling the mission of the University.
New York (legal)
Dear Columbia Nursing community,
I write in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of the federal right to seek an abortion—guaranteed nearly 50 years ago by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision but reversed by their recent ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In light of Friday’s ruling, I want to reaffirm our school’s and our profession’s commitment to advancing health equity and social justice for our patients, our communities, and vulnerable populations everywhere. As clinicians invested in the mental and physical health of our patients—and also as researchers, policy-makers, and educators—we must not be deterred from this mission.
Friday’s ruling runs contrary to years of progress in reproductive health and of respect for personal choice. It is a grave and costly reminder that we, as nurses, must remain steadfast in our dedication to advocating for our patients and to defending the basic human right of access to safe and affordable health care for all people. As nurses, there is no other way for us to move forward.
In fact, “abortion is health care” is the unequivocal phrase invoked by a number of organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Longitudinal research has shown that women who wish to have an abortion but are denied one fare less well on nearly all measures—physical health, short-term mental health, employment status, life aspirations, and ability to care for their other children—than women who seek an abortion and are able to have one.
We will, I am sure, learn more about the impact of this ruling in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, I want to highlight the words of wisdom issued by Dean Katrina Armstrong in CUIMC’s statement on the ruling: “As an institution we bear a special responsibility for leadership in this moment; our values of patient autonomy, privacy, and equal access to medical care will continue to guide us through this challenging period.”
Like Dean Armstrong, I am thankful to be your dean and part of this exceptional community at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. Let us all recommit to continuing our work providing each and every patient with the health care that they choose.
Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD, FAAN
Dean and Mary O’Neil Mundinger Professor,
Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Northwell Health is disappointed by the US Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, which made access to safe and legal abortion a constitutional right for five decades.
This decision is a setback for women’s reproductive health. Our concern as the region’s largest health care provider is that this ruling will succeed in ending access to safe abortions and disproportionately cause harm to those who already have limited access to health care.
In New York State, we already have laws that establish a woman’s right to an abortion. Governor Hochul recently signed a series of bills that preserve this right and, importantly, offer protections for health care providers in the state who perform this procedure legally. But we will vigorously monitor any developments related to this very important issue in the coming months and we will continue to advocate in the name of raising women’s health.
North Carolina (uncertain)
Duke Health is committed to providing a full range of the highest quality family planning services, including abortion, in full compliance with current state laws. This care is designed for the complex and highly sensitive health and emotional needs of people who are making childbearing decisions. Safe and reliable access to these services is a critical part of women’s health, and it is also a vital component of our educational mission to train physicians to deliver comprehensive care. We value the ability to deliver these critical services safely and compassionately, and we will assess changes if required by law.
North Dakota (ban expected soon)
See South Dakota.
Ohio (gestational limit in effect)
Our strongly held conviction is that women’s healthcare decisions are best made between a patient and their healthcare provider—a relationship based on privacy and trust. It is a privilege for us to serve patients with such an intimate understanding of their lives.
We are deeply concerned about the consequences that restrictive abortion laws will have on women and families.
The United States already has among the poorest infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Minority and low-income women in particular will be disproportionately affected by restrictions to reproductive healthcare, which were swiftly put into effect in Ohio.
We remain committed to the health and well-being of our communities and will continue to support women and reproductive health while also following the law.
In support of our patients and communities, our leaders are working on recommendations for improving access and removing barriers to contraception, guiding patients on interstate travel and developing partnerships with other health systems and organizations.
In support of our caregivers, we are reviewing how benefits under the Employee Health Plan may be expanded to cover out-of-state reproductive health services for all members.
This is continuing to evolve as we come to better understand the new law.
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is closely examining the decision from the Supreme Court and changes in state law. If necessary, the medical center and College of Medicine will make adjustments to be in compliance with the law.
Oklahoma (ban in effect)
Oklahoma University Health
As an academic health system, OU Health provides comprehensive care for women and children of all ages and stages of life. The healthcare we provide complies with state and federal laws along with healthcare regulatory and compliance. OU Health will continue to monitor state and federal legislation and legal changes and ensure full alignment as new laws are enacted.
University of Pennsylvania
Today, Friday, June 24, the United States Supreme Court revoked Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has protected the right to safe abortions and reproductive care. This ruling leaves the decision of abortion access to individual states and is a threat to health care access, basic human rights, and health equity.
As Centers dedicated to public health, we understand and acknowledge the radical policy implications of this announcement, and the fear and anxiety generated as a result. Together, we join the Penn Community and those across our nation to defend access to safe health care for all, including people who are marginalized because of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual and gender identity, and economic status. Restricting access to safe abortions will lead to increased maternal mortality, childhood poverty, and poor mental health outcomes, and will undoubtedly exacerbate racial inequities.
Providing inclusive public health services for all in our community means providing access to safe and legal reproductive care, including abortions. The World Health Organization recognizes abortion care as an essential healthcare service. Continuing to reinforce comprehensive abortion care is lifesaving, affirming, and critical to the nation’s public health. In light of this decision, the Penn public health community will continue to educate and promote access to comprehensive and safe reproductive care.
Visit the The Center for Public Health Initiatives and Wellness at Penn for more information.
Rhode Island (legal)
South Carolina (gestational limit in effect)
South Dakota (ban in effect)
Sanford Health is committed to meeting the maternal health care needs of the communities we serve. While as a matter of policy we do not offer elective abortions, we are carefully evaluating any potential impact of the Supreme Court decision on the ability of our providers to deliver medically necessary care to our patients. Our focus remains on ensuring our providers, alongside our patients and their families, can continue to make the best clinical decisions for the health and safety of those we serve.
Editor’s note: Sanford Health is headquartered in South Dakota but also serves patients in North Dakota, Minnesota, and some of Iowa.
Tennessee (ban expected soon)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
For over a century Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has been committed to providing comprehensive, evidence-based, and personalized care to patients throughout our region, and increasingly to the entire nation. We will continue to do so to the best of our ability while remaining in full compliance with federal and state law.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) has substantial negative health implications for our region’s women and their families. The rate of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in Tennessee is among the highest in the country. Women of color and who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are at the greatest risk. Laws that have already been passed in Tennessee, but not implemented due to Roe v. Wade, will now take effect, and will likely exacerbate these health care disparities.
VUMC will soon begin instituting policy changes intended to mitigate some of the health care and health equity concerns that are anticipated due to changes in the law. Our goal is to support our clinicians to provide comprehensive reproductive health care to women in need, including facilitating appropriate care for our patients who are pregnant, consistent with federal and state law.
VUMC will continue to monitor future legislative efforts and strongly advocate for legislative solutions that evidence has shown are in the best interest of women’s health.
Texas (ban expected soon)
Utah (ban blocked)
Huntsman Cancer Institute
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has had a deep impact on our community. This is a rapidly changing situation across the country, with varied responses in different states. Here in Utah, we are in the midst of a collection of complex legal, legislative, and community-driven actions, and I think it is safe to say that we don’t know exactly where this will ultimately land in our state.
What is certain is that Huntsman Cancer Institute remains committed to our core value of “patient and community first”, and we will do everything we can to ensure our patients continue to have access to the care that they need. We will utilize our voice to advocate for our patients and the critical decisions they face when navigating a cancer diagnosis and a pregnancy. And we will work to advance access to compassionate, state-of-the-art care, without regard to socioeconomic status, geographic location, or other factors.
I want to acknowledge the obvious: there are extremely strong feelings on these issues. Regardless of our individual views about abortion, I hope we will come together to focus on compassion, the recognition that our patients have unique circumstances and challenges, and our Huntsman Cancer Institute commitment to advance health and well-being for all. I am committed to advocate for and support our patients as they make some of the most difficult decisions in their lives along with their care providers.
Our partners on campus, including the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and its Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, among others, are actively convening discussions on the implications of these decisions and how to ensure our patients can continue to receive safe and effective medical care for the myriad health conditions that arise alongside or as a result of pregnancy. We are engaging our colleagues for their guidance on how we can best support and advocate for maternal medical care in light of the Supreme Court ruling.
This is a dynamic and challenging situation and we are grateful for the engagement of our community in navigating the many ways this decision will impact our patients, our community, and our colleagues in medicine, research, and training.
Thank you for your understanding that we don’t have all the answers at this time due to the rapidly changing environment. But know that no matter what the environment brings to us, we will be steadfast in our commitment to advance health for all.
Mary C. Beckerle, PhD
Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Endowed Chair
CEO, Huntsman Cancer Institute
Associate Vice President for Cancer Affairs, University of Utah
University of Vermont Health Network
As a health care safety net provider for more than 1 million people, including critical services that our patients cannot receive elsewhere in our region, the UVM Health Network supports preserving access to the full range of reproductive health care. Our policies and our practices regarding abortion services focus on the importance of the patient-provider relationship, and the right of patients to make their own health care decisions. Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization infringes on that long-established right, and will undermine access to important health care services across the nation. We will continue to stand up for reproductive health care rights and equitable access to that care.
John R. Brumsted, MD
President and CEO, The UVM Health Network
UVM Larner College of Medicine
The Larner College of Medicine affirms its commitment to educating all of our students and trainees regarding the ethical and practical considerations of early considerations of early pregnancy care including issues of contraception, conception (both spontaneous and assisted), as well as informed decisions around management of ongoing pregnancies.
Situations in which the physician-patient relationship is not given primacy will inherently create risk for patients and increase inequity in health care delivery across our society, at a time when our focus should be on eliminating the barriers that exist and expanding the delivery of quality care to all.
Richard L. Page, MD
Dean, UVM Larner College of Medicine
Jan K. Carney, MD, MPH
Associate dean for public health and health policy,
Senior advisor to the dean
Brian Cote, MBA
Senior associate dean for finance and administration
Gordon L. Jensen, MD, PhD
Senior associate dean for Research
Jason Sanders, MD, MBA
Senior associate dean for clinical affairs,
President & chief executive officer, The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group; Executive vice president for clinical afairs, The University of Vermont Health Network
Margaret Tandoh, MD
Associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion
Christa H. Zehle, MD
Senior associate dean for medical education
University of Virginia
To the University Community:
Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturning the constitutional right to an abortion originally established in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Regardless of how one feels about this opinion, it represents a fundamental shift in constitutional law that will affect the lives of people within this community and across the nation in real and lasting ways, and we are writing to share some information about its expected impact on our community.
Because there is currently no federal statute guaranteeing or prohibiting abortion services, this opinion means that individual states can determine whether, and under what conditions, a woman can legally access an abortion. In some states, this decision will have near-immediate effects due to laws already on the books banning or restricting abortions in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Under existing laws in Virginia, and in many other states around the nation, there will be no immediate change. That means at UVA and UVA Health there will be no changes to current services.
As mentioned above, the court’s decision in this matter is a major change in our country’s stance on one of the most contentious issues in public life—and one of the most personal. While people are obviously free to voice their opinions about this ruling based on their beliefs and experiences, we urge members of our community to do so with empathy and understanding for all.
For those seeking additional information about this ruling, UVA Today and UVA Law have developed a helpful resource about this ruling and what it means for abortion rights in Virginia and around the nation.
Finally, the University is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees, students, and patients. For those in need of support, the University offers many resources including Counseling and Psychological Services for Students and the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program.
James E. Ryan
Executive Vice President and Provost
Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
K. Craig Kent
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Based on today’s ruling, it’s anticipated that 26 states are certain or likely to move quickly to ban abortion, with 13 of those states having trigger laws that could bring immediate change and consequences for our patients, our employees and our communities.
As we process the implication of this ruling, it’s important to acknowledge that patients with cancer and other serious illnesses often face incredibly difficult decisions related to reproductive health and their long-term well-being. These choices are deeply personal, and they vary, depending on factors such as a patient’s diagnosis, the available treatment options, the urgency of treatment and known treatment side effects.
We share the view of the American Medical Association and dozens of other professional medical organizations that individual health care decisions should be made privately by the patient after fully-informed consultation with their physician.
West Virginia (ban to be in effect soon)
Wisconsin (ban in effect)
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case will have profound impacts. The loss of access to abortion and critical reproductive healthcare will be felt everywhere in Wisconsin, particularly by underserved rural areas or marginalized populations that are disproportionately affected by barriers to safe and effective reproductive healthcare.
As we enter a time of rapid change and uncertainty, UW Health will put the needs of our patients first and foremost to ensure they receive not just the best care, but the best medical advice related to their care options. We will support our thousands of providers and staff, many of whom never expected to face a challenge like this in their careers and are deeply affected by the news.
While reverting to a 173-year-old state law on abortion will create some legal uncertainties, we recognize that this court decision has effectively banned abortions in Wisconsin except to save the life of the mother, and UW Health will continue to comply with the laws related to reproductive healthcare.