USC

Following the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, members of the USC community discuss the consequences of the decision

Nearly 50 years after the case was first decided, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision.

Photo of the Supreme Court building

Following the Supreme Court’s highly controversial decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, members of the USC community say the decision will have significant consequences for women across the country.

Students in organizations that work towards reproductive healthcare solutions, such as Period @ USC, which works to provide all students with free menstrual products in various bathrooms across campus, also expressed concerns about how the ruling could affect reproductive healthcare access for people in the USC community and across the country.

In a statement, Period @ USC vice president Chloe Lewis wrote that “SCOTUS’ decision to overturn Roe is a painful reminder of how precarious the idealized notion of freedom in America truly is, especially for poor and marginalized groups. It is not the first time, and surely not the last … that we are reminded how easily our governmental institutions can strip us of our freedoms.”

“Americans, and, disproportionately, minority groups, already face barriers to reproductive, menstrual and gynecological healthcare access, which threatens their overall health, safety, familial stability, and ultimately their lives,” Lewis said.

Members of the medical community at USC also expressed concern for what it might mean for the future of reproductive healthcare at large.

Cynthia Sanchez, a clinical assistant professor of nursing in USC’s Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, says that the direct impact of this ruling will be on vulnerable communities.

“The women who are more affluent who can fly to California and get their procedure and fly back home–it’ll be an added expense and a little bit of a discomfort, but it’ll still get done,” Sanchez said. “For the women who are stuck there and don’t have the means to travel out of state, that would lead them back to doing unsafe, illegal procedures by people who are not professionals.”

“Then, you’re forcing women to have procedures that are riskier and more expensive,” she said.

Brian Nguyen, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at USC, said the restrictions imposed by the ruling could not only create barriers for doctors to assist patients in terminating pregnancies, but also restrictions for patients dealing with miscarriage and stillbirth. This can lead to difficulties for patients as well as a lack of education for doctors, he said.

“You have, let’s say, OB-GYNs that are trained in an abortion-restrictive state,” Nguyen said. “That means that they would not be able to obtain hands-on practical training in abortion. If it’s not incorporated into a regular part of the care that you provide to women, then you can imagine that when individuals practice, they’re gonna be a little more unsure about how to readily use it and they’re also going to be a little bit more reticent to be as strong advocates for the procedure.”

One of Nguyen’s areas of study is the role that men play in reproductive care. According to him, many legal abortion restrictions don’t acknowledge partners’ roles in the decision and how they’ll be affected as well.

“What we see among male partners is that there’s a lot of stigma or not very many places for them to voice or process their feelings about abortion and what can happen because of that is that there can be some polarization, which can lead to negative press about abortion, when in fact, individuals [can have] the chance to process it and discuss how important it was or if it was the right decision,” Nguyen says.

Nguyen also says that the more that partners’ roles are acknowledged in abortion, the more likely it is that these partners are willing to be advocates for it.

The discussions surrounding these rulings are far from over. According to AP, Justice Clarence Thomas, who was part of the decision’s majority, has also called on the Supreme Court to consider overturning other rulings protecting rights ranging from same-sex marriage to the use of contraceptives.

However, members of the USC community are still hoping to take action and fight against the ruling.

“It is hard to remain hopeful that a better future is possible to achieve when we are being forced into a world of the past, with outdated notions of law and justice, and continued attacks on individual rights,” Lewis wrote in her statement. “However, as activists of decades past have taught us, we must persist. We must use our minds and voices for the best; we will protest, write, vote, and fight for one another.”