I am writing to update you on the work of the Dobbs task force. The Tennessee trigger law has now gone into effect and abortions are effectively banned in Tennessee, from the moment of fertilization. We are undertaking the following actions in response:
- We are creating two Compassionate Care funds, one for students and one for faculty and staff. These funds will be available to support a number of needs, such as buying a plane ticket to get home quickly because of a family medical emergency, and will also be available to support access to reproductive health care not available in Tennessee. We hope to release the guidelines and application process within the next week.
- The Counseling Center has created a support group entitled “Dobbs Decision Support Group.” The Counseling Center has also compiled a list of reproductive health resources to provide information to our community; please visit the Counseling Center to learn more.
- The faculty representatives on the committee are in the process of putting together a panel discussion to discuss the impact and implications of the Dobbs decision. The tentative plan is for this to take place on September 20; please stay tuned for additional information.
We expect the law in Tennessee will continue to evolve over the next weeks and months and there are still many unanswered questions. What are the implications for IVF procedures, for example, and the ability to access Plan B? The committee will continue to meet to discuss these issues, and I want to extend my deepest thanks to all members of the committee for their hard work in addressing this rapidly developing situation. As I said in an earlier message, Rhodes remains steadfast in its commitments to maintain a compassionate, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community; to support the physical and mental wellbeing of every member of that community; and to guarantee reproductive rights and autonomy to the fullest extent possible.