» Roe v. Wade: A Letter from the Chair of Sociology

Letter from the Chair of Sociology

June 29, 2022

The Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is antithetical to the most basic democratic principles at the core of a liberal arts education. The majority of Americans strongly support allowing individuals to access evidence-based health care services and to make decisions about their own care in consultation with their medical team.

Sociologists are experts in the mechanisms by which those in power attempt to exert social control. As such, it is our responsibility to speak out when systems of power weaponize those mechanisms to curtail the rights of its most vulnerable citizens.  Control is most likely to be exerted in times of societal change to thwart progress and is often framed in terms of supposed benevolence or concern for innocent bystanders.  Ultimately, decisions such as the Supreme Court's are expressions of that desire to maintain power and social control.

Reproductive rights and bodily autonomy are issues that affect all of us. This decision will indeed fall hardest on the most vulnerable amongst us: women & gender minorities, low-income communities, survivors of domestic & sexual violence, people with disabilities, refugees & asylum seekers, communities of color, and many others who are affected by systemic oppression and who rely upon rights not explicitly granted in the constitution. The Supreme Court's ruling, in this case, will exacerbate existing inequities by ensuring that those with the fewest resources will face the harshest consequences and the riskiest conditions.

As Chair of the Sociology Department, I will work to ensure we continue to offer relevant educational opportunities about the sociological implications of overturning Roe v Wade. And as a department deeply committed to social justice and community engagement, we will seek opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to engage in the struggle for reproductive rights.

To learn more about the Supreme Court's decision and how you can become involved, please refer to this resource & evidence-based summary created by the Orange County Women's Health Project: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XKLb6YC0UG2R18riqD1WlRrPQa5oFIlD/view

Christopher D. Bader
Professor and Chair of Sociology

*This letter utilizes some text from statements issued by the Japanese Americans' Citizen League and the statement of Michael V. Drake, President of the University of California.