This past week, we saw one of the most disheartening headlines in recent history – the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, stripping the basic right to abortion away from people who can get pregnant. It is a very scary time to even be able to get pregnant in the United States, and this headline immediately made my heart drop. The government took control over bodies that do not belong to them and violated the access to healthcare that all people deserve.
Following the decision, GW refused to remove Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas from GW Law’s faculty, leaving students hurt and devastated by the lack of University support. There was also a discovery of the first confirmed case of Monkeypox on campus.
On lighter notes, the Smithsonian Board of Regents released a list of potential new museums and President Joe Biden’s administration proposed changes to reinstate Title IX protections that former President Donald Trump dumped.
Here are the best and worst of this week’s headlines:
The Supreme Court decided 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade, pulling back federal protections for abortions. The ruling will strip people who can get pregnant of their right to bodily autonomy and undoubtedly cause major setbacks to reproductive justice. Access to abortions is healthcare and a right that all pregnant people deserve. The overturn immediately triggered bans in at least six states with seven more expected soon. The decision to leave abortion laws up to the states disproportionately affects people that are queer, of color and disabled because rich, white, cisgender women will continue finding access to abortions with resources that marginalized people do not have. GW has not released any statement condemning the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, only sending an email defending the idea of debate and civil discourse among differing opinions as a way to justify Justice Thomas’ teaching position at the University.
After the decision, students started a petition calling on GW to remove Thomas from his position as a professorial lecturer at GW Law. As of Thursday night, more than 8,500 people have signed it, but officials rejected the demand in their email. Despite claiming he does not represent the views of GW Law and promoting debate amid different opinions, their decision to retain Thomas sends the blatant message that stripping people of their reproductive rights is valid. Not only did Thomas support the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but he also called on the Supreme Court to reconsider the protection of contraception and same-sex marriage. Allowing him to continue as a lecturer at GW is dangerous, insulting and invalidating to the student body and more specifically to those who can get pregnant and are queer.
GW also announced the discovery of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the GW community. Monkeypox broke out in England this May and has spread quickly throughout the world, now including the United States. The individual is in isolation and receiving care off campus while three other people were contacted for being in close proximity with the infected person. While the University is making sufficient efforts to contain this disease, this discovery does not bode well for the future. We should take preventative measures to not come in contact with infected individuals and remain isolated if infected. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, a spreadable disease can stick around on a college campus.
The Smithsonian Board of Regents announced four new possible locations for the National Museum of the American Latino and American Women’s History Museum – a list that will be narrowed down by the end of 2022. Their possible locations include the Arts and Industries Building, a Northwest Capitol site, a South monument site and a Tidal Basin site. These new locations are exciting because they offer the GW community a free opportunity to explore the city more and learn about the pivotal history of marginalized communities.
The Department of Education announced it will bring back the Title IX protections that the administration of former President Donald Trump had removed. These restored rules include more language that’s more inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, which can better protect queer students, and enhanced protections for victims of sexual assault, which can better combat sexual discrimination. While these proposed updates must go through a public comment phase before final certification, they are the right steps toward creating a supportive and harassment-free environment in schools, workplaces and society in general.
Riley Goodfellow, a rising sophomore majoring in political science, is the contributing opinions editor.
This article appeared in the July 1, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.