Six college presidents on abortion

In the wake of the SCOTUS ruling on abortion, Mount Holyoke’s President joins with other college presidents reaffirming reproductive rights.

President Sonya Stephens joined the presidents of Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Wellesley and Vassar in writing a letter to The New York Times about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The full letter can be found below; subscribers can also read it on the New York Times website

To the Editor:  

Last Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, thus eliminating what has been deemed a constitutional right for nearly fifty years: the right to legal abortion. Even as we reaffirm our commitment to respecting individual differences in beliefs and values, as presidents of colleges that were founded for women, we are deeply concerned about the effect this ruling will have on women’s lives and the lives of people of all genders who will be denied or will have limited access to reproductive health care. History and research suggest that this ruling will have a negative influence on college access, graduation rates and employment trajectories; and that people of color and those with limited incomes will be most negatively affected.

We will continue to provide reproductive health care on our campuses, which are situated in states where it is possible to do so. We will also work to inform students of the best way to obtain access to the full range of reproductive health care. Still, we want to make clear that we do not believe that the rights of Americans should be limited by geography.  

We urge everyone to speak out and actively participate in our democracy. As Coretta Scott King said, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”  

Sian Leah Beilock, Barnard College 

Elizabeth H. Bradley, Vassar College  

Kimberly Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College 

Paula A. Johnson, Wellesley College 

Kathleen McCartney, Smith College

Sonya Stephens, Mount Holyoke College