Women's Reproductive Health Post-Roe (2023-2024)

Background

The overturning of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in June 2022 has led to delays of care for countless women in states with trigger bans, and in one case, even the immediate death of a woman in South Carolina. In states where virtually all kinds of abortion were suddenly illegal, reproductive care providers are now often forbidden from speaking out about the impact of the overturning of Roe on the standard of care they can provide. In states like North Carolina where abortion is still legal, reproductive healthcare providers who work at publicly funded institutions are also often unable to speak publicly since doing so may result in their institutions losing funding. 

It is now crucial that reproductive care providers in the South who are able to speak about the impact of the Roe ruling do so, for the sake of their patients and other patients across the country. To understand and analyze life in the post-Roe landscape, it is essential to document the medical, ethical and political conditions of the moment from healthcare providers’ perspectives. 

Project Description

The aim of this project is to document the political and ethical situations of local healthcare providers as they attempt to provide women with the nationwide medical standard of care in light of the Roe ruling. The combination of Duke University Hospital’s unique geography, located in one of few southern states now permitting abortion, with its institutional structure (private rather than public) make it an ideal place from which to study healthcare and reproductive rights in the national post-Roe landscape.

Team members will document the effects of the new legislation on women’s healthcare providers, as well as the consequences for women’s and family health. Using ethnographic methods including compiling oral histories, gathering and organizing archival research, documenting media coverage and conducting interviews, team members will create an audio and documentary archive chronicling the work of the Family Planning Services team at Duke University Hospital. 

This archive will include short audio and video narratives that will be considered in the context of historical and contemporary women’s reproductive healthcare. The goal of the archive is to produce qualitative data to inform healthcare policy, law and media coverage in the continuing post-Roe era.

Anticipated Outputs

Audio and documentary archive of Duke Medical Center’s women's reproductive healthcare; short excerpts for public media that put archive material into broader historic, legal and medical context; development of a safe and secure workflow that can serve as a model for future oral history work with medical personnel, their patients and their institutions

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this project team will include 2 graduate students, 2 medical students and 8-10 undergraduate students. All students should be interested in women’s reproductive health and justice. One graduate student would preferably be from Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program, while the other would be a Ph.D. student focused on medical humanities. 

Undergraduate students may come from a variety of disciplines, including global health and prehealth majors; journalism; computer science; anthropology; sociology; African American and African studies; Asian American studies; Latinx studies; history; gender, sexuality and feminist studies; documentary and film studies; English; literature; and art, art history and visual studies. 

All team members will acquire skills (visual, audio, social media and written) for documenting medical providers’ experiences, including archiving multiple legal, political, ethical and intersectional aspects of at least five providers. They also will learn how to build a workflow that will help current and future scholars document post-Roe realities in the context of the rapidly changing and diverse approaches of federal, state, local and corporate law enforcement organizations toward women’s health.

Graduate student team members will build a nimble team working in real time to document a health crisis with long-term ethical, medical, economic and societal ramifications. They will assess and respond to the complex media landscape and create new narratives from this archive, which will be pertinent to public health policy decisions at the state and national level. They will help to build influencer networks that may allow them to disseminate their own scholarship in future.

In Fall 2023, this team will meet on Mondays from 3:05-5:35 p.m.

One graduate student will be selected to serve as the project manager.

See the related Story+ project for Summer 2023; there is a separate application process for students who are interested in this optional component.

Timing

Summer 2023 – Spring 2024

  • Summer 2023: Story+ students: Create podcasts, video pieces and social media posts illustrating practical impact of Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision on healthcare available to women
  • Fall 2023: Train in interview techniques; interview providers; begin transcription and indexing of material
  • Spring 2024: Continue interviews; create media pieces; expand influencer networks

Crediting

Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding available

See the related Story+ project, Healthy Women Post-Roe v. Wade (2023).

Image created in part with graphics from communitycommons.org.

Team Leaders

  • Beverly Gray, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Wesley Hogan, Franklin Humanities Institute
  • Jonas Swartz, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology

/graduate Team Members

  • Mia Buono, Global Health - MSc
  • Rebecca Fairchild, Medicine MD Fourth Year
  • Mira Jeyacala Thevan, MIDP 2 Year Masters
  • Margaret Ragland,
  • Sudha Thotakura, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG
  • Erin Van Gessel, Bachelors of Science - Nursing

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Miracle Adedeji, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Vaughn-Regan Bledsoe, African/African Am St (AB)
  • Maite McPherson, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Manasvi Reddy, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Anushri Saxena, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Anika Vemulapalli, Cultural Anthropology (AB)
  • Alicia Yang, Biology (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Kelly Acharya, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology: Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility
  • Clayton Alfonso, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Elizabeth Deans, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Sally Howland, Duke Hospital–Ambulatory Triage Services