June 24, 2022

Dear Members of the HWS Community,

Earlier today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reversing a nearly 50-year old decision providing women a constitutional right to an abortion. In its ruling, the Supreme Court gives authority to individual states to regulate abortions. I remind our community that New York remains a state where abortion and reproductive health care are safe, accessible and legal. Gov. Kathy Hochul said today that New York will continue to be a “safe harbor” for individuals seeking care. Hobart and William Smith’s health insurance and drug plans will continue to cover a variety of reproductive and gender affirming health care services. And as has always been the case, the professional staff at Hubbs Health Center is available to students seeking reproductive health care.

I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s ruling, the effect it will have on public health, and the politicization of individual rights, further hinted at by Justice Thomas’ comments regarding same-sex marriage and access to contraception. It is not lost on me that this decision comes the day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which guarantees, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The juxtaposition of the Supreme Court’s ruling and this anniversary is stark. Hobart and William Smith Colleges are committed to the work that lies ahead to make certain that individual rights are restored and upheld. 

Any discussion of abortion and Roe v. Wade has the capacity to elicit a variety of emotions. I remind you that there are resources available as needed through the Counseling Center (the emergency line remains available to all students, regardless of where they live, and can be reached at (315) 781-3388, ext. 1), the Office of Spiritual Engagement and the Employee Assistance Program.

With respect,

Joyce P. Jacobsen