Chancellor Diermeier shares campus message on Supreme Court decision regarding reproductive rights

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a federal right to abortion; the Supreme Court’s decision now leaves abortion laws to the states.  

This is a decision with enormous implications, especially here in Tennessee, which is one of 13 states that have passed trigger laws, which are bans designed to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. In Tennessee, the law bans all abortions except those to protect the life of the pregnant woman or prevent substantial harm to her physical health, and goes into effect 30 days after the decision. At Vanderbilt we remain steadfast in our commitment to support women’s health and the safety and well-being of our community and to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all members of our community. As a leading research university, it is also our responsibility to confront head-on the most pressing challenges of our time and provide a forum for exploration and debate.  

To help meet this crucial responsibility, the university has created a task force that will focus on the impact of a statewide abortion ban and plan to address impacts to clinical care, educational instruction, student health and other areas while also helping to drive academic discussion and explore strategies and policy around this topic. The university is coordinating closely with leadership at the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and our partners at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as part of this effort. Based on the findings of the task force, we will provide updates on the effects of the decision on the university and measures to address those impacts.  

We understand this decision and its implications are a lot to process and will continue to be the subject of much discussion among members of the Vanderbilt community. These conversations are vitally important, and fostering an environment of open and civil discourse is central to our mission as a university. We are deeply committed to supporting our students, faculty and staff as they process these developments, and we will soon announce a number of forums and discussion spaces as well as opportunities for academic and educational engagement around the decision.  

As we work through the sweeping impact of this decision together, we are committed to supporting our Vanderbilt community. Below are resources that may be helpful.