U.S. Supreme Court Decision Impacting Roe v. Wade
June 24, 2022
Dear Stony Brook University Community,
Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today to overturn the federal constitutional protections of abortion rights embodied in the Roe vs. Wade decision, many across the Stony Brook community are experiencing a range of emotions.
We recognize that our diverse university community likely will have varying and passionately held opinions about the decision and its implications. Moreover, the ruling by the court arrives during an already stressful time when we find ourselves grappling with many issues across the globe – the ongoing COVID pandemic, racially motivated violence, gun violence, and war in Ukraine, to mention a few. The Supreme Court decision has the potential to contribute to increased tensions.
It is important to note that the laws of New York State are clear: comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women – including contraception and abortion – is a fundamental component of a woman’s health, privacy, and measure of equality. This was codified by state lawmakers in 2019 and laws to further protect abortion practitioners and facilities where abortions are performed were passed earlier this year.
There are several things to note as our Stony Brook community reflects on the impact of the Supreme Court ruling:
- Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine have a longstanding commitment to women’s healthcare. We will continue to provide access to high-quality care for everyone, including reproductive and prenatal healthcare.
- At its core, our institution is dedicated always to open inquiry, knowledge, and insight. The open exchange of ideas and perspectives is at the heart of our academic mission. This is how our students learn to think critically.
- Free speech and peaceful assembly also are fundamental to our mission. Stony Brook is fully committed to the protection of these rights for all members of the campus community, and will not interfere with demonstrations or assemblies as long as they are not disruptive and adhere to university policies.
- If you need help or are feeling uneasy about this or any other issue, the university has a robust support system in place. Students can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services; faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program.
I also want to remind our faculty, staff, and students of the university’s Statement of Community, which reads, in part: “In committing ourselves to study and work at Stony Brook, we agree to promote equality, civility, caring, responsibility, accountability, and respect. We also recognize the importance of understanding and appreciating our differences and similarities.”
As a leading public research university – whose mission is to shed light, not heat, on issues confronting our nation and the world – we have a duty to effectively respond to issues of public importance during challenging times by dispensing information, sharing data, guiding meaningful conversation, and sparking vigorous debate. To that end, we have put together a website called Critical Conversations that covers important topics related to current events and serves as a source of information for our community and beyond.
I am proud that our campus community has shown time and again that it is prepared to meet this critical task. Thank you for everything you do to make Stony Brook a respectful and engaging institution.