The dangers of overturning Roe v. Wade

May. 5, 2022
SCOTUS building at night

Statement from the CUNY SPH deans and 22 faculty on the SCOTUS draft opinion to overturn abortion rights:

If Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States, women and girls across this country will lose their right to autonomy over their own bodies, and those that continue to seek abortions will face enormous physical and mental health risks in doing so. We will see a return to the times of unsafe, life-threatening, unsanitary procedures that put the well-being of pregnant women and their families at risk. Women will be forced to make extremely difficult decisions, from traveling vast distances to seek care to risking criminal charges and incarceration, depending on where they live. These additional stressors compound a woman’s decision to discontinue a pregnancy, a decision that is never easy but should remain her own and no one else’s. Eighteen states have laws in place to prosecute people who are pregnant and seek abortion services. Were Roe reversed, enforcement of these laws would result in dire consequences.

Increases in unwanted and unsupported pregnancies, and lack of comprehensive reproductive services for women, will worsen health disparities and exacerbate poverty among vulnerable populations, particularly among women of color who already experience disproportionately poor maternal health outcomes. Consequently, women and girls across this country will die, and one projection estimates a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths. According to the CDC, in 2020, Americans saw a 36.8% increase in U.S. maternal mortality in just two years. Some are mothers leaving behind children who will be orphaned.

Political forces have slowly driven this country to this point. Despite widespread public support for the right to an abortion and women’s right to make this profoundly personal and private decision about their health, policymakers are determined to prevent women and girls from exercising their human right to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. Something no man is ever subjected to, nor should they be.

The City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy – a school rooted in a commitment to social justice and reproductive justice – stands with women in New York and across the United States in full support of the right to affordable and safe healthcare for pregnant women and girls. This moment calls for people everywhere to join the ranks of public health professionals and advocates fighting for women’s rights – once again. Women’s rights are human rights.


Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean
Michele Kiely, Associate Dean for Research
Ashish Joshi, Senior Associate Dean Academic and Student Affairs
Lynn Roberts, Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Alumni Relations
Sergio A. Costa, Interim Assistant Dean for Digital Learning, Marketing and Communications
Susan Klitzman, Senior Associate Dean for Administration
Stacey B. Plichta, Professor
Sheng Li, Assistant Professor
Katarzyna Wyka, Associate Professor
Chloe A. Teasdale, Assistant Professor
Emma Tsui, Associate Professor
Suzanne McDermott, Professor
Karen Florez, Assistant Professor
Spring Cooper, Associate Professor
Elizabeth Kelvin, Associate Professor and Department Chair
Meredith Manze, Assistant Professor
Terry Huang, Professor
Denis Nash, Distinguished Professor
Elizabeth Geltman, Associate Professor
P. Christopher Palmedo, Clinical Professor
Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Associate Professor
Ann Gaba, Assistant Professor
Christian Grov, Professor and Department Chair
Nevin Cohen, Associate Professor
Betsy Eastwood, Associate Professor
Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, Professor Emerita
Jean Grassman, Associate Professor
Betty Wolder Levin, Professor Emerita


The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy offers graduate programs in health communication and social change, community health, and health policy and management – withspecialization in maternal, child, reproductive and sexual health.