On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, that protected a person’s right to choose to have an abortion, upheld for nearly 50 years. The Roe decision hinged on the “right to privacy” guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The recent Dobbs v. U.S. decision eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion.

What does this mean exactly? To explore what this decision means and where we go from here Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Provost’s Office, and the Fowler School of Law sponsored a campus-wide conversation with faculty experts on June 28.  Watch the entire panel discussion here.

The Ask the Experts panel included Professor Marisa Cianciarulo, Dean, Fowler School of Law, and Doy and Dee Henley Chair in Law; Dr. Lori Cox Han, Professor of Political Science, Doy B. Henley Chair of American Presidential Studies, Director, Presidential Studies Program; and Dr. Charissa Threat, Associate Professor of History. The panel was moderated by Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Norma Bouchard.

“While the Constitution doesn’t specifically use the words ‘right to privacy,’ which is a more modern phrase, everything that it protects centers around that concept,” said Professor Cianciarulo.

Dr. Cox Han, whose research and teaching expertise include the presidency, women and politics, media and politics, and political leadership, said the Supreme Court’s decision is out of line with the majority of Americans on this issue, and they are on the wrong side of history. “Public opinion is totally against what the Supreme Court did.”

Dr. Threat focused on the intersection of class, race, and reproduction rights, noting that “the decision to overturn Roe will disproportionately affect women of color and low-income women, who will continue to bear the burden of both the lack of access to adequate health care and who already suffer higher rates of maternal mortality.”

(Pictured above left to right: Dr. Norma Bouchard, Dr. Lori Cox Han, Professor Marisa Cianciarulo, Dr. Charissa Threat)