The purpose of this guide is to provide resources related to sexual and reproductive health and bodily autonomy for students, staff and faculty of Pima Community College.
Dear PCC Students and Employees,
Following the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned the Court’s previous ruling in Roe v. Wade, as well as last week’s ruling by a Pima County Superior Court judge to reinstate a pre-Arizona statehood abortion ban, the College is reaching out to express our support for students and employees who may be adversely impacted by these decisions, and to provide information about specific resources available through the College.
Members of the Board, the College and I stand with our female students and employees, and we share our deep concern about the consequences these decisions may have on our community. While legal challenges are likely to continue, what is certain is that restricting or outlawing abortions will, directly and indirectly, affect our female students and employees, especially lower-income female students and women of color. Research shows women faced with an unplanned pregnancy and parenthood, injured by illegal abortions, or prosecuted for terminating a pregnancy face higher risks of dropping out of college.
The College works to provide a safe, welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment for all, and we are proactive in developing programs and enforcing regulations that help female students accomplish their educational and career goals. Examples include strictly adhering to Federal Title IX Regulations, including protections for pregnant and parenting students, resources to report sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, or assault, funding new child care centers and marketing traditional and non-traditional programs to women.
The College understands these court decisions affect members of our community in profoundly different ways. However, we will continue to advocate for and support access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare, and I will continue to personally support the freedom for each person to make their own healthcare decisions. Below are links to College resources that may be helpful in light of the recent court rulings, including links to crisis counseling and support.
We can and should do more to ensure Pima is a welcoming and inclusive place for women and we ask for and appreciate your input and ideas.
Chancellor Lee Lambert
The following statement from Rita Lennon, Faculty Senate President, and Brooke Anderson, Faculty Senate Vice President, was endorsed by Faculty Senate.
Dear Pima Community College Colleagues and Students,
We move into this semester in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V Wade. There is a lot we don’t know about how this ruling will impact our community; however, what we do know is that the American people have lost a legal protection at the highest level, and college students and employees across the country no longer have the same access to abortions.
As the President and Vice President of the Faculty Senate, Rita and I are committed to Pima Community College’s purpose: “to transform lives through affordable education.” Part of our institute's vision is to enrich our diverse community “to empower every learner, every day, for every goal” by committing to equity and social justice and to meeting the diverse needs of every person who seeks to further themselves through education (PCC Mission).
The Supreme Court’s decision runs counter to Pima’s equity minded and socially just mission. It takes away basic human right protections from the American people, and it prompts Rita, who is not only a faculty leader but a healthcare professional, and I, to firmly and publicly state that reproductive health care is a basic human right and that we stand for protecting people’s rights and health even when those with more power and authority do not.
I understand that members of our community hold a wide range of opinions on abortion. It's a complex, multidimensional issue involving people’s beliefs about healthcare, economics, politics, ethics, and religion, and I believe in inclusivity and Pima’s Mission to be committed to every learner - no matter their opinions, equity driven practices, and compassionate educational environments.
Rita and I believe that people’s reproductive choice should be their own, no one else's, and especially not our government’s. That said, whether or not we all agree is not the problem. The problem is that the Supreme Court’s decision will make it harder for colleges to retain people with small children and pregnant people who already have high dropout rates (Mangan 2022). Additional restrictions on abortion are likely to be enough to keep people from attending college when they experience an unwanted pregnancy.
I agree with President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), David J. Skorton, MD, that we should all have access to comprehensive health care, and allowing states to have restrictive laws that police people’s bodies runs counter to this ideal. The law should not interfere in patient-physician relationships, nor should it get in the way of a doctor’s ability to provide the best medical care for their patients. The court’s decision to nullify the patient protection Roe V Wade provided for pregnant people places the greatest burden on the lives of those who have been historically and economically marginalized and disadvantaged. So many of Pima’s learners experience health inequities already, and people’s lives and livelihoods are now even more at risk. This nation “should be redoubling [its] commitment to patient-centered, evidence-based care that promotes better health for all individuals and communities,” not increasing deeply embedded historical health inequities. AAMC strongly opposes the Supreme Court’s decision, as do I, especially since it is my institution’s learners, community college learners, who are likely to suffer the greatest consequences.
I join in with other College leaders across the country who have issued statements, about doing “all they can to protect women’s health in spite of the ruling” (Mangan 2022). Child-care responsibilities are more likely to disrupt low-income people’s college plans than their wealthier peers or men of all socioeconomic groups, and many attending community colleges, like ours, have been made the most vulnerable by the Supreme Court’s decision. This College can do a better job serving parents, mothers, and pregnant people. We’ve recently gained momentum by opening childcare facilities within our Desert Vista campus. Let’s continue and provide childcare services to women at every campus. Let’s make sure we are listening to what our learners who are pregnant and/or parents have to say about what they need to stay in school; that we have well kept and visible lactation rooms, that we continue to focus on creating more flexible course schedules and service hours, that we do what we need to do to make sure our learners have access to free and/or affordable child care services, and that we have ways to increase financial assistance for pregnant people and parents.
Even with an increase in services, Pima is likely to see increasing numbers of learners drop out because they are overwhelmed by the struggle to balance college, parenting, and work demands.
Now is not the time to sit still and stay silent on this ruling. Let’s take collective action to make sure our learners who are pregnant and parents know that we support them and that we want to provide them with the services and learning experience they need to equitably access the affordable education we offer.
Brooke Anderson, Faculty Senate Vice President
Rita Lennon, Faculty Senate President & President-Elect