We, the faculty of the Department of Women and Gender Studies and the Certificate Program in LGBTQ Studies, strongly condemn the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ruling, issued on June 24, 2022, eliminates the constitutional right to an abortion, almost 50 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case secured federal protections for it. We are saddened and outraged as we anticipate the cascading effects of this ruling, particularly as it will most devastatingly impact Black, Indigenous, and Latinx women, and other women of Color (BIPOC); poor, disabled, and LGBTQ women; adolescents and young women; and trans and nonbinary people who are pregnancy-capable.
We draw from the reproductive justice framework developed by Black women, Women of Color, and other nonbinary and trans People of Color, which calls for us to situate this latest attack on abortion on a longer continuum of reproductive injustice, including histories of forced sterilization, lack of access to contraception and family planning, and inhumane conditions of pregnancy and childbirth in US jails and prisons and in countries impacted by US imperial wars. We locate this ruling within a larger trend toward austerity measures that severely curtail the right to live a full and dignified life, including a shrinking social safety net, lack of access to state-supported childcare, and growing food insecurity in the wake of a pandemic that has forced record numbers of women out of the workplace.
While this moment is being framed as a “throwback” to pre-Roe days, we must also be attentive to how it heralds new efforts to surveil bodies seen as unruly and criminalize those who seek agency and self-determination over their own bodies, whether the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, the right to parent a child in a safe and healthy environment, or the right to determine one’s own gender and seek gender-affirming care.
As a department invested in intersectional, transnational, and decolonial feminist scholarship, we also wish to underscore how attacks on the reproductive freedoms of women and pregnancy-capable people in the United States are tied to the undermining of reproductive health globally by the US. For example, the infamous “global gag rule” introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984, reinstated by Donald Trump in 2017, and most recently rescinded by Joe Biden in 2022, prevented foreign NGOs (non-governmental organizations) receiving any US global health assistance from even using their own funds to provide services or information for legal abortions in their respective countries. As we fight to reinstate and secure access to abortion for women and people who can become pregnant within the US, we must also continually challenge these imperialist histories of foreign aid, echoing the transnational feminist expressions of solidarity globally. This includes support from Latin American feminists – especially from Mexico, where Mexico’s Supreme Court moved last year to decriminalize abortion – and global reproductive and women’s rights groups including UNFPA, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Global Fund for Women.
In Colorado, where access to abortion will be preserved for the time being, we stand in solidarity with abortion providers who will continue to serve Colorado’s population and the populations of our neighboring states, many of which will outlaw or severely restrict abortion in the coming weeks.
We recognize the importance of Colorado organizations - including COLOR, The Brazen Project, and the Colorado Doula Project - that work tirelessly to fight for access to abortion, especially for communities that face socio-economic barriers to accessing reproductive services, including those across state lines.
In closing, we call for the University of Colorado Boulder to stand as a leader in opposing threats to bodily sovereignty. CU must pledge to provide continued access to accessible, inclusive, and gender-affirming reproductive health services and contraception on campus. We also call on CU Boulder's Health and Wellness Services and the Wardenburg Health Center to distribute information that warns students about the prevalence of Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers (so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”) in Boulder, which masquerade as abortion clinics while actually providing medically inaccurate information and targeting low-income students and students of color.
The Faculty of the Department of Women & Gender Studies and the Certificate Program in LGBTQ Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
Painting by Micah Bazant created in 2020 for the 47th anniversary of Roe v Wade with Forward Together, National Network of Abortion Funds, Kenya Martin, Jasmine Burnett, Bianca Campbell, Adwoa B. Agyepong and Kemi Alabi. Words originally by Renee Bracey Sherman, used with permission.
Resources for Action, Engagement and Reflection about Abortion
In solidarity with our activist communities, we offer the following resources, compiled by reproductive justice activist and WGST graduate, Mar Galvez-Seminario.
If You Need to Access an Abortion or Reproductive Care:
Fact Sheets on Abortion:
Boulder Valley Women’s Health Abortion Fund (offering later abortions)
Scholarship on Abortion and Reproductive Justice:
A Black and Asian Feminist Reproductive Justice Syllabus. Compiled by Saloni Bhaman at the Asian American Writers Workshop.
Radical Reproductive Justice, Loretta J. Ross, Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, and Pamela Bridgewater Toure (eds.)
Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice, Marlene Gerber Fried, Elena Gutiérrez, Loretta Ross, and Jael Silliman
"Beyond Roe v. Wade: Struggling for Abortion Access," Emily Janakiram
Scholarship by WGST faculty on Abortion and Reproductive Justice:
“Guerreras y Puentes: the theory and praxis of Latina(x) activism” by Celeste Montoya and Mar Galvez-Seminario
Abortion: Three Perspectives by Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine, and Alison M. Jaggar
“The Supreme Court’s abortion decision is based on a myth. Here’s why.” by Samira K. Mehta and Lauren MacIvor Thompson
“There is no one ‘religious view’ on abortion” by Samira K. Mehta
“God Bless the Pill: Contraception and Sexuality in Tri-Faith America” by Samira K. Mehta
“On abortion, Florida’s party of ‘religious freedom’ tramples over non-Christians’ beliefs” featuring Samira K. Mehta
“How Pivotal Are Mexico’s Efforts at Gender Parity?” by Lorraine Bayard de Volo