Skip to main content

The U.S. Supreme Court, Abortion Rights, and Public Health


Dear Colleagues,

As you know, Politico published a leaked draft opinion earlier this week in the landmark abortion rights case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. This draft indicates that Roe v. Wade is likely to be struck down entirely. While this decision is not final, its prospects for the health and wellbeing of our nation trouble me greatly.

In recent weeks, the Bloomberg School has explored the public health dimensions of abortion rights, including through a reported podcast, magazine articlemagazine column, and joint op-ed. I hope you will listen, read, and consider sharing this content widely. It is vital that we help the public understand that the pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade goes far beyond politics. As Dean Sarah Szanton of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and I wrote in the Baltimore Sun op-ed, the implications for the health of individuals, families, and communities will be lasting and profound. For this reason, I have also signed a joint letter with fellow public health leaders this week urging the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade.

The Bloomberg School is home to researchers and practitioners who have devoted their careers to protecting and advancing access to reproductive health services, including abortion. Their work across the U.S. and the world enhances access to information and care critical to public health. These efforts are more important than ever and will remain a high priority for the School. 

As I continue to speak out on this issue, I recognize that our School community includes people with diverse perspectives on abortion. I respect my colleagues and coworkers even if I may disagree with them, and I ask you to do the same.

For all of us, this is a moment of tremendous uncertainty. What the U.S. Supreme Court will actually decide is not yet known, nor is it understood what will happen after a decision is made. It is up to each of us to make sure that our voices—and the vital considerations of the public’s health—are part of every conversation.


Ellen MacKenzie Signature

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor