Statement from members of the Women's Studies Research Center community on the Supreme Court's Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

sea of people protesting outside Supreme Court

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court unilaterally overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973), eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, with far-reaching consequences for other fundamental rights—from contraception to same-sex relationships and marriage. Justice Clarence Thomas, against whom Professor Anita Hill testified for sexual harassment in 1991, has threatened to challenge specific decisions based on the right to privacy such as Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).  It is a proposed undoing of the empowered, fulfilled lives that we desire for all individuals. 

While we braced for this decision following the leaked opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson, a profound sense of horror, rage, grief, and fear has sunk in across generations. We are not surprised, but our emotions are raw. Pauli Murray, the indomitable feminist, civil rights lawyer, activist, and a professor at Brandeis University from 1968 to 1973, pinpointed precisely what lies at the heart of inequality, “If you rip away everything, the business of oppression is the business of not respecting one’s personhood.” We are painfully aware that this recent decision, which is another manifestation of gender-based violence in legal guise, will disproportionately impact people of color and marginalized communities, and will fundamentally reset the metric of activism and rights in this country.

This is certainly a setback, but it is not defeat. We are determined as ever to fight for reproductive justice –t he basic human right to maintain sovereignty over our bodies, sexuality, and gender. We will continue to center intersectional approaches to reproductive justice in our classrooms and programming, organize outside the academy with grassroots organizations and activists, and nurture a community of support and affirmation. In the coming academic year, the WGS department and the WSRC will frame a series of events, panels, and talks focused on reproductive justice. As teachers, who once taught Roe v. Wade as a part of the history of women’s, gender, and sexualities studies, we now face its reversal resolute and determined, taking to heart Pauli Murray’s advice for times like these: “Surrender to none, the fire of your soul.”

Signed by members of the WSRC community,

  • Harleen Singh, Director, WSRC
  • Stephanie Lawrence, Assistant Director, WSRC
  • Abby Rosenberg, WSRC Librarian
  • Kristen Mullin, Program Administrator, WSRC
  • Margaret Morganroth Gullette
  • Susan Eisenberg
  • Laury Gutierrez
  • Dana Maiben
  • Siti Nurjanah 
  • Linda Pololi
  • Edith Chears
  • Melchor Hall
  • Heather Treseler
  • Donna Dodson
  • Kate Larson
  • Jyoti Puri
  • Anita Wyzanski Robboy
  • Ama Saran
  • Nafisa Tanjeem
  • Lihua Wang
  • Barbara Berenson
  • Maryam Ghodrati
  • Sari Fein
  • Jocelyn Marshall
  • Nancer Ballard
  • Ornit Barkai
  • Helen Berger
  • Mei-Mei Ellerman
  • Rachel Joffe Falmagne
  • Janet Freedman
  • Karen Frostig
  • Suzanne Hanser
  • Laurie Kahn
  • Amelia LeClaire
  • Ruth Nemzoff
  • Smriti Rao
  • Susie Rivo
  • Karin Rosenthal
  • Rosie Rosenzweig
  • Rochelle Ruthchild
  • Eric Silverman
  • Annie Storr
  • Pam Swing
  • Kristen Waters
  • Susan Wilson
  • Meg Bond 
  • Lora Brody
  • Ann Caldwell
  • Liane Curtis
  • Fran Forman 
  • Louise Lopman
  • Brenda McSweeney
  • Rachel Munn
  • Naomi Myrvaagnes
  • Susan Porter
  • Roberta Salper
  • Pnina Abir-Am
  • Annette Liberman-Miller


Innovative Research Into Gender and Women’s Issues

Working in the arts, humanities, and social sciences and at their intersections, the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) researchers and artists focus on vexing questions related to gender dynamics and inequalities. To illuminate the past and present, via empirical evidence and transcendent insight, the WSRC aims to construct a path to a more equitable future.

The WSRC acts as a nexus of three dynamic, integrated programs that operate on principles of interdisciplinary exchange and cross-generational partnership:

WSRC Research Projects

Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance

The WSRC is delighted to announce that WSRC Director Dr. Karen V. Hansen and her co-investigator, Dr. Nazli Kibria of Boston University, have been awarded the Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge Grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Raikes Foundation. Their proposal, Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance, was selected from 1,225 submissions and is one of 28 organizations from 18 states. Please view video here.


Inspired by Brandeis’ founding values of openness, inclusiveness and social justice, the National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine (known as C - Change) engages medical schools in action-research to facilitate institutional culture changes that allow all faculty members and physicians in training to contribute fully and reach their own full potential.The C-Change Initiative had their first article relating to their NIH funded research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additional coverage can be found in Brandeis University newspapers, The Hoot and BrandeisNOW