Johns Hopkins deans respond to historic decision that overturned 'Roe'

Deans from the schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Nursing affirm commitments to reproductive health and evidence-based care and education

Deans from Johns Hopkins University's schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine issued messages to their communities in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Friday to overturn the constitutional protections for abortion outlined in Roe v. Wade.

"This issue goes far beyond politics," wrote Ellen MacKenzie, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, in an email Friday. "This ruling puts people's health in danger."

"We will meet this public health challenge as we have many that have come before: with evidence, innovation, determination, and courage."
Ellen MacKenzie
Dean, Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Supreme Court decision, outlined in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, walked back constitutional rights to an abortion, triggering at least 13 states to issue abortion bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute. They join 13 additional states that are poised to prohibitively restrict or outright ban abortion without the protections outlined in Roe.

On Friday, Johns Hopkins University and Medicine leaders also issued a statement affirming the institution's commitment to following evidence-based best practices to the fullest extent of the law.

In messages to their school communities, the deans echoed the institution-wide statement, which underscored the fact that as the nation's first research university and as a major employer and provider of health care in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Florida, Johns Hopkins has a vital role to play in advancing women's reproductive health.

"We remain firmly committed to providing the safest and best possible care to our patients, and to supporting all aspects of women's health and reproduction rights," wrote Theodore DeWeese, interim dean of the School of Medicine, in an email. "We reassure our Johns Hopkins community that despite this ruling today, we continue to provide the same breadth and depth of women's health and reproductive services, and will continue to educate future learners and leaders in women's health."

The decision to overturn Roe also serves as a call to action for many members of the Johns Hopkins community, according to the deans.

"Now more than ever, nursing leaders like those from the JHSON community must lead efforts to minimize the effects of this historic setback to our nation's health," wrote Sarah Szanton, dean of the School of Nursing. "Nurses excel in problem solving and we must find opportunities to provide and promote unrestricted personalized health and wellness for all individuals regardless of race, community, religion, social status or U.S. state. We must work together to advocate for state and federal legislation that protects the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion."

Likewise, in her message, MacKenzie thanked those in the School of Public Health community who marched, rallied, and advocated for abortion as an evidence-based public health practice.

"Our work in research, teaching, advocacy, policy, and communication will continue to protect health and save lives, even in the face of this ruling and its far-reaching consequences," she wrote. "We will meet this public health challenge as we have many that have come before: with evidence, innovation, determination, and courage."

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