Voices of Simmons

Public Health Professor of Practice Carolyn Rodgers Shares her Thoughts on the Overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Carolyn Rodgers is a Professor of Practice and the Bachelor’s Program Director in Public Health at Simmons University. Dr. Rodgers researches health disparities, mental health, health and nutrition, substance use, and fitness. She is co-founder of the American Heritage Youth Foundation (AHYF), a non-profit organization that supports community-based interventions. Dr. Rodgers is especially passionate about education, health, equity, and uplift.

What is your reaction to the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade?

My initial reaction was shock, though it was also unsurprising, given the political climate of the U.S. and the unfortunate divide within this country.

In Public Health we try to be ready to respond to immediate and future needs based on political challenges that may arise from the decision of our law-makers.

How will this decision impact women and families in the United States?

As public health professionals, we must be prepared, now more than ever, as we begin to see negative health consequences and unintentional harm imposed on women because of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. History has shown this, repeatedly, especially for women from marginalized and BIPOC communities — who often end up being the unintended or intended victims, depending on who you ask — to experience structural barriers to health.

Are there more specific populations of women that are more affected by this decision than others?

Women from marginalized communities and especially BIPOC communities will most likely be affected the most by the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. History has shown us that financial resources to travel to other states or abroad to obtain services not offered here in the U.S. will further exemplify the social, structural, and political determinants of health and widen the gap between the wealthy communities and marginalized and BIPOC communities.

How is this a setback for women’s rights?

Unfortunately, women’s rights have always been under threat in this country and abroad. This opens the doorway to other countries rolling back progress that has been made because of efforts here in the U.S., as it was the women’s movement in this country that influenced the decisions of many others.

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