Statement from the College of Charleston’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program Faculty Executive Committee and the Women’s Health Research Team on the June 24, 2022 SCOTUS Decision

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Statement from the College of Charleston’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program Faculty Executive Committee and the Women’s Health Research Team on the June 24, 2022 SCOTUS Decision

The Faculty Executive Committee of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Women’s Health Research Team at the College of Charleston strongly oppose and are outraged by the SCOTUS decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Jun 24, 2022, which effectively overturns Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1993). This disastrous decision removes constitutionally protected freedoms, a first in our country’s history.

Our opposition is grounded in decades of empirical data and research that we have conducted in Social Science, History, Public Health, and other disciplines, as well as our lived experiences.

The premise is simple: People with uteruses do not have the basic freedom and fundamental human right to their bodily autonomy. What’s more, in what will soon be in a majority of states, if they (or we) attempt to exercise these entitlements, we will be criminalized.

Criminalization has never eradicated abortion. Abortion is and has been practiced in every known human society. It is an ordinary part of the reproductive lives of people who can get pregnant. The World Health Organization includes comprehensive abortion care on its list of essential healthcare services. It is a common medical procedure that will not go away even under the most draconian measures.

What confronts us now is what abortions under criminality will be like, what will happen to the people who need them, and who will be most affected by laws like this.

In the few hours after SCOTUS released their decision 13 states enacted their “trigger laws” and at least 13 more are maneuvering to make abortions illegal, including South Carolina. The cascade of restrictions is ballooning, including criminal prosecution of those who seek abortions, those who provide them, and even those who offer referrals. These laws effectively codify state-sanctioned forced pregnancies.

Poorer people, immigrants, and people of color already have decreased access to abortion. Many can’t take time off from work or don’t have access to childcare to be able to travel across state lines for abortions. Some will have to carry on with essentially forced pregnancies. This will perpetuate poverty for families across generations.

What anti-abortion advocates do not seem to realize is that abortion restrictions also increase the chances that all pregnancy loss – even unintended – will be surveilled, suspected, and potentially prosecuted. This is not a hypothetical situation as it is already happening, and has been for some time, in states such as Tennessee. There is no way to establish medically if someone had a miscarriage or induced an abortion with pills. People who miscarry will be interrogated and potentially prosecuted. People with very much wanted pregnancies who face health complications will be denied medically necessary procedures. People will die from pregnancies they are forced to carry.

We at the College and in higher education broadly will lose students facing unwanted pregnancies because of this decision. Women will lose educational and career opportunities; this too will perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Women will be less likely to leave abusive partners if they have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. It is no coincidence that the economic, leadership, political and educational status of women in the U.S. has increased commensurate with the ability for them (us) to control our reproductive lives.

Forcing people to stay pregnant will result in harm and deaths. In South Carolina, maternal mortality rates are 26.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. For women of color, that rate is 42.3 per 100,000 live births compared to 18.0 per 100,000 live births for white women (SCDHEC). That means pregnancy is risky, and also not all infants survive. South Carolina’s infant mortality rates are far higher than the national average: 6.5 per 1,000 live births in South Carolina compared to 5.58 deaths per 1,000 nationwide.

The most vulnerable will become more vulnerable. But that’s the point, right?

We grieve with our community for what has been lost and for the tragedies that will come in the wake of this decision. We know that the inability to control one’s own reproductive decisions will impact many of our students and colleagues. This is why we unequivocally united in our opposition to this decision, and to the cascade of laws that will follow. We also are united in our continuing struggle for the fundamental human right to bodily autonomy.

We invite you to join us in our resistance to this unchecked and ideologically myopic power that seeks to eradicate our freedoms. We will not go back!

What do we do?

We can write our legislators to demand state-level protections for abortion, including comprehensive health care services.

  • Urge SC legislators to support the Reproductive Health Rights Act (S. 1348), which would ensure access to contraception, in vitro fertilization, sex education, and all forms of reproductive health care.
  • Follow SC WREN (Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network) for current information about how to get/stay involved in legislative advocacy

We can circulate information about organizations that support individuals needing abortions (and donate, if you can):

We can urge companies we support to move to abortion-friendly states or cover abortion-related expenses for employees who live in states where it is/will be restricted.

We can boycott companies and organizations that fund anti-choice/abortion politicians and movements.

We can get educated about the deeper context of these attacks on reproductive freedom as jeopardizing the very core of freedom for people with uteruses:

We can urge our leaders at the College of Charleston to follow the many other institutions that have declared their commitment to ensuring that all students will have access to reproductive healthcare. We can insist that current practices of CofC’s Student Health Services to offer no cost options for birth control become permanently resourced.

  • We can go further to financially support unintentionally pregnant students, as The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice states: “Pregnant and parenting students deserve nothing less than emergency financial aid to obtain abortion care when and wherever they may need it.”

We can share information about abortion access, legal rights, and self-managed abortions.

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing WHAT IFF? Podcast

What IFF? WGS Podcast

At What IFF?, we are dedicated to sparking discussion about making change in our campus community and beyond by centering intersectional feminist thought and uplifting members of our community who are actively moving toward justice, and inspiring those of us who want to learn more.

 

 

WGS Summer 2022 Newsletter

WGS Summer Newsletter

WGS is excited to share a special issue of our WGS Connect Newsletter! The first ever summer edition of our newsletter offers highlights from this year’s Feminism in Motion. This year’s fourth annual event featured 28 student presentations/poster presenters as well as roundtable discussions and plenty of artistic doodles.

We hope you enjoy this special issue! WGS is already outlining the next newsletter, and we cannot wait to share the next iteration of WGS Connect this fall! In the meantime, be sure to check this blog site and our social media to keep up-to-date on Women’s and Gender Studies’ current events and spotlights.

WGS would also love to hear from you! Always feel free to reach out with ideas for the blog or newsletter. We embrace all things collaboratively produced and will continue to embody that philosophy in all that we do.

Use the button below to view this special digital PDF, complete with embedded links and lots of great info on WGS students, faculty, events, and more.

Feminism in Motion 2022 Event Recap & Pictures

Feminism in Motion logo

Thank you to everyone who came out to our fourth annual Feminism in Motion celebration! See below for a digitized version of the program, scans of some of the feminist doodles that our attendees created during the event presentations and rich discussions, and pictures from the day’s festivities.

 

 


2022 FeMo Picture Gallery

 


Resources Compiled by Students

Charleston SC

Charleston Housing Resources

Students in WGS’ capstone course worked on a group project about Charleston Housing Resources for their final project. Their project includes a website (https://laineystern.wixsite.com/website) which delves into the issue of housing inequity in Charleston, SC and the root causes of this problem in our local community. In addition, they outline local organizations and resources for those facing housing inequities. We encourage people to view their website to learn more about this issue impacting numerous people in our community.

Capstone Project: Charleston Housing Resources

Charleston SC

Students in WGS’ capstone course worked on a group project about Charleston Housing Resources for their final project. Their project includes a website (https://laineystern.wixsite.com/website) which delves into the issue of housing inequity in Charleston, SC and the root causes of this problem in our local community. In addition, they outline local organizations and resources for those facing housing inequities. We encourage people to view their website to learn more about this issue impacting numerous people in our community.

Summer 2022 Course Brochure

Summer 2022 Courses WGS Summer Courses

Summer fun can include time in the classroom! Take a look at the courses being offered for Maymester, Summer I, and Summer II that are a part of Women’s & Gender Studies.

MAYMESTER

Feminist Pedagogy, WGST 320.01, CRN 31386, Online, Dr. Kris De Welde

Pedagogy is the term used to describe approaches to teaching and learning. In this course we will explore pedagogies that are informed by, for example, feminist, critical, anti-racist, liberatory, and abolitionist perspectives with attention to the ways that students’ education experiences may or may not reflect these approaches. Informed by queer feminist critique of artificial binaries (such as student-teacher) and power dynamics in educational spaces (which reflect broader in/equities), we will consider how engaged and liberation-focused pedagogies can “spill over” beyond classroom spaces into other aspects of our lives. We will engage in reflective practice – individually and in community – to imagine how these approaches can move us toward social justice.

Psychology of Gender, PSYC 350.01, CRN 31322, Online, Dr. Lisa Ross

This course presents social, cognitive, biological, evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives on gender, including gender development and roles. Major themes include nature and nurture contributions to gender, gender differences versus similarities, gender versus sex, the influence of gender assumptions, biases and roles, and challenging prejudice to improve gender relations.

Psychology of Social Change, PSYC 332.01, CRN 30385, Online, Dr. Jennifer Wright

In a world struggling with a number of serious environmental and social-justice issues, how do we effect social change? How do we create a healthier, cleaner, safer, more compassionate world? How do we, as individuals, become better people? In this class, we will select environmental and social justice issues, and then explore theoretical and empirical perspectives on how our beliefs, reasoning, and emotions–as well as our goals, desires, and fears–positively and negatively influence our attitudes and actions concerning these issues. We will review the literature on habit formation and the ways in which people can effectively change their attitudes and behaviors, both as individuals and as societies. In the process, we will tackle the applied problem of actually enacting change in our own lives.

Women’s Health Issues, HEAL 323.01, CRN 30656, Online, Dr. Christy Kollath-Cattano

The course deals with a wide variety of health issues of concern to women. Major categories of topics include utilization of the health care system, issues of concern to women of diverse backgrounds, normal physiological health and well-being, common physiological and psychological health problems, and cultural as well as societal influences on women’s health.

 

SUMMER I

Human Sexuality, HEAL 217.01, CRN 30947, Online, Dr. Sarah Maness

The format focuses on providing information necessary for establishing a sound knowledge base on topics including sexual anatomy and physiology, birth control, basic psychological concepts of sexuality, sexually transmitted infections, family planning and parenting. The information is presented in relation to the decision-making process as applied to understanding one’s own and others’ sexuality.

 

SUMMER I & SUMMER II

Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies, WGST 200.02, CRN 30744, Online, Dr. Kaj Brian

Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies, WGST 200.01, CRN 30682, Online, Dr. Malia Womack

This is an interdisciplinary course designed to explore the rich body of knowledge developed by and about women and gender. We study gendered structures and their consequences in contemporary cultures and societies. In addition, we examine feminist theories and relevant social movements.

 

Student Spotlight: Lauren Graham

We asked Lauren to answer the following questions:

  • What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?
  • What areas/aspects of activism (gender, women, children, etc.) and/or social justice do you find most engaging/interesting, and why?
  • Tell us about any extracurricular work you’re doing (ex. volunteering/local activism), or any involvement you have on campus with clubs/organizations.
  • What impact have your WGS courses had on you? and/or: Why should every CofC student take a WGS class before they graduate?
  • What does being an Alison Piepmeier scholar mean to you?
  • What are your plans and goals after graduation?

Lauren’s Answers:

Lauren Kendall Graham (she/her/hers)
● Honors College Class of 2023
● Major: Biochemistry
● Minor: Women and Gender Studies
● Hometown: Citronelle, Alabama

Lauren Graham
This summer, I received a SURF grant to co-author and help conduct the “Do You Want a Period?” campaign. This project was created to gather data concerning women’s knowledge concerning contraceptives. So many women are unaware that the withdrawal bleeding that happens at the end of the birth control pill cycle is unnecessary. Contraceptives can change a woman’s period or can sometimes prevent her from having one at all. This study consisted of an interview that determined the extent of the interviewee’s familiarity with contraceptives as well as what would appeal best to them in a campaign. My main role was to recruit and interview participants, as well as co-author sections of the manuscript. This research is important to me as I plan on pursuing a career in women’s health. I am currently majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. I hope to attend medical school and, after my residency, practice within the field of women’s health. I am extremely interested in the current issues that are relevant to women’s health in the United States and further globally. I feel that my research with the Women’s Health Research Team is helping me to prepare for issues and phenomena that I will definitely encounter throughout my career. I feel that there is a stigma surrounding women’s health issues. People my age feel uncomfortable when I bring up issues or current legislation that concern women’s health or reproductive rights. I feel that my work on these projects helps me to communicate better with my peers, most of whom are women, that our health issues and complications are normal topics and that we should not be embarrassed to discuss them. The more I study women’s health, the more work I find that needs to be done. Most women do not understand contraceptives or know about the multitude of options that are available regarding their reproductive health. I want my generation to become informed and empowered about their freedom and options concerning their sexual health. I am most interested in reproductive justice because when I was in high school in Alabama, I watched my state supreme court take away my reproductive rights to my own body. I was an active member of the Women’s Health Research Team from Fall 2020-Fall 2021. In the Fall of 2021, I left Charleston to do an exchange semester in Aalen, Germany where I conducted research. I am a proud member of Alpha Delta Pi ,and I currently serve as the Vice President of Administration for the Panhellenic Council. WGS has allowed me to take courses that discuss issues in our society regarding women’s health. I have also learned so much about families in my current sociology class. Being an Alison Piepmeier is such an honor. Alison Piepmeier was an active feminist who is so inspirational to me. I hope I am honoring her legacy with the work I am doing.

AV Drive for “Elders Speak” Oral History Project

AV Drive for Wassamasaw Tribe
Please consider donating new or gently used AV equipment to help support the “Elders Speak” oral history project underway with the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians. See flyer for details.
 
WGS will be collecting supplies on behalf of the Wassamasaw Tribe at the WGS office between today and May 5th. The WGS Office is open Monday – Thursday 11 A.M. – 6 P.M. You may also email thomaspr@cofc.edu to schedule a specific day and time to drop off your donation.

WGST 250: Approaches to Research & Practice in Women’s & Gender Studies

WGST 250 Approaches

WGST 250: Approaches to Research & Practice in Women’s & Gender Studies

CRN 16554, TR 1:40PM-2:55PM

Prof. Kris De Welde

This is an inquiry-based course that offers a primer to the theoretical, conceptual and methodological frameworks in Women’s and Gender Studies. Students will engage with intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches to research and activism in an effort to understand more fully concerns of power, oppression, and liberation that are central to the discipline. Counts as an elective for WGS majors and minors.

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