A personal message from the chair of YaleWomen

Dear Members of the YaleWomen Community,

We are at a moment in history that presents extraordinary challenges for women’s ability to control their health. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey has evoked strong emotions from those who support and those who oppose abortion. Many in our community, including the leadership of YaleWomen, are deeply concerned as it threatens the autonomy, rights, and health of all women and sets a precedent for other human rights to be dismantled. As Chair of YaleWomen and as a physician, I write now with my personal view.

As a physician, my duty and primary focus has been the care of my patients. In the United States, our maternal mortality rate is higher than any high-income country and is rising (23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020 compared to 20.1 in 2019) with rates nearly three times higher in Black mothers than in white mothers. The YaleWomen Council has recently completed our five-year strategic plan which includes a strong commitment to parity and health equity. Decisions about reproductive rights are now placed with the states, potentially exacerbating racial and socio-economic health disparities in access to reproductive healthcare for people of all genders. As YaleWomen, we have a shared experience of education and clearly value its importance. While the ruling will have wide implications, there is a gravity as it applies to higher education. Research has shown that since Roe v. Wade became law, access to abortion has increased the probability that young women experiencing unintended pregnancy finish college by nearly 20 percentage points and enter a professional occupation by nearly 40 percentage points.

I have a strong belief in the power of women and the value of including our perspective on important issues, a belief that has only deepened through my work with YaleWomen. On this issue, your perspective, as women, as YaleWomen leaders, is critical. I encourage you to use your voices to inform your elected representatives at both the state and federal levels concerning your views, whatever they are. I am so deeply grateful to be part of the YaleWomen community and appreciate how our members contribute to our mission. I welcome your thoughts as we continue our commitment to “advancing women’s voices and perspectives and to enriching and inspiring one another, Yale and the world.”

Susan Pepin MD, MPH
Chair of YaleWomen

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  • Tanya Atwood-Adams
    commented 2022-06-30 20:39:25 -0400
    Thank you for your statement Susan, I could not agree more.
    strength and peace, Tanya Atwood-Adams
  • J H
    commented 2022-06-29 22:43:19 -0400
    I understand the perspective you are presenting and the broad strokes your piece presented. I do wish that a bit more to the other side of the discussion was represented as I hope YaleWomen are not so singular in how they think. My opinion on this issue differs somewhat and since I am typing this speedily on my phone, will also not be as eloquently put.

    Your opinion piece states this opinion sets precedents to dismantle other human rights. I will assume you and I both know what you are speaking about and the Supreme Court decision went out of its way to note that this decision did not set precedents for those other decisions as the media liked to state.

    As for access to care and health parity, this is bigger than the abortion issue. In fact, the entire landscape of relationships and education has led to this, not including the lacks within the healthcare system. We live in a society that glorifies lack of fidelity, lack of marriage and commitment, our public school education is in dire straits, adoption is difficult if not impossible, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. The argument that aborting an unwanted or unintended child to “finish college” and get an education sits poorly with me.

    That being said, my religious beliefs are such that abortion is warranted in certain circumstances. I hope voters in states with stricter laws vote for those scenarios for those in need. The celebration of abortion, the argument that children will oppress women and ruin their lives, even worse, the eugenics of abortion that is being offered as an argument in favor are terrible at best and horryfing.

    I tried to follow the rules of this site and be respectful of your opinion. I hope that it came across but also that there are others out there. We are in agreement that healthcare needs to change and that women’s voices need now be heard at the state level.
  • YW Communications Committee
    published this page in A personal message from the chair of YaleWomen 2022-06-29 21:58:37 -0400