Statement from Columbia Nursing about the Supreme Court’s Overturning of Roe v. Wade

Dear Columbia Nursing community,

I write in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of the federal right to seek an abortion—guaranteed nearly 50 years ago by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision but reversed by their recent ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

In light of Friday’s ruling, I want to reaffirm our school’s and our profession’s commitment to advancing health equity and social justice for our patients, our communities, and vulnerable populations everywhere. As clinicians invested in the mental and physical health of our patients—and also as researchers, policy-makers, and educators—we must not be deterred from this mission.

Friday’s ruling runs contrary to years of progress in reproductive health and of respect for personal choice. It is a grave and costly reminder that we, as nurses, must remain steadfast in our dedication to advocating for our patients and to defending the basic human right of access to safe and affordable health care for all people. As nurses, there is no other way for us to move forward.

In fact, “abortion is health care” is the unequivocal phrase invoked by a number of organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Longitudinal research has shown that women who wish to have an abortion but are denied one fare less well on nearly all measures—physical health, short-term mental health, employment status, life aspirations, and ability to care for their other children—than women who seek an abortion and are able to have one.

We will, I am sure, learn more about the impact of this ruling in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, I want to highlight the words of wisdom issued by Dean Katrina Armstrong in CUIMC’s statement on the ruling: “As an institution we bear a special responsibility for leadership in this moment; our values of patient autonomy, privacy, and equal access to medical care will continue to guide us through this challenging period.”

Like Dean Armstrong, I am thankful to be your dean and part of this exceptional community at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. Let us all recommit to continuing our work providing each and every patient with the health care that they choose.

Dean Frazier

Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD, FAAN
Dean and Mary O’Neil Mundinger Professor
Senior Vice President, Columbia University Irving Medical Center