Petition for ASHA Response to Dobbs v. Jackson

Target: 1500
Start petition: 2022-07-06 20:22:08

#Speech Language Pathology    #Speech Pathology    #audiology    #audiologist    #ASHA   

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” 

     Desmond Tutu

On June 24th, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, striking down the constitutional right to privacy and the right of all birthing people to safe abortion services. Although this ruling may be narrowly framed as related to abortion, ultimately “abortion politics are a politics of power, and all accounts of power must be intersectional in nature” (Baird & Millar, 2020, p. 3). Indeed, the impact of this decision, the resulting trigger laws, and the other laws that will soon be passed to further restrict bodily autonomy intersect with racism and ableism; this includes a history of forced sterilizations among marginalized groups, documented health disparities among pregnant BIPOC individuals, and differences in freedom of movement of white individuals to seek out pregnancy healthcare options compared to BIPOC and Undocumented individuals who are more likely to be prosecuted. As such, the concerns surrounding bodily autonomy are compounded for individuals among marginalized groups. The intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability is precisely the type of systemic inequity that ASHA committed to work to remedy only two years ago.


With this backdrop, we, the undersigned, were appalled to read ASHA’s non-response statement regarding the Dobbs case. We call on ASHA to stop making a false claim of neutrality that is in contrast with ASHA’s stated obligations to advocate for its members and individuals who receive our services. We have the following actionable demands: 

  1. Immediately cease donations by ASHA-PAC to candidates who have a history of or have made clear statements that they will confirm appointees or pass laws and regulations that restrict human rights. This includes restrictions of bodily autonomy as well as limitations in freedoms of BIPOC, Queer, Trans*, Disabled, and Undocumented individuals.
  2. Refrain from holding in-person meetings in locations where harm to attendees is plausible and imminent. This includes (a) states with laws that restrict a pregnant person’s access to healthcare during the meeting, (b) states with questionable or absent legal protections for BIPOC, Queer, Trans*, Disabled, and Undocumented people, and (c) localities with police forces are currently undergoing Pattern or Practice Investigations by the United States Department of Justice. Many ASHA members have had to make difficult decisions about whether to attend ASHA events, often weighing concerns for their safety with the importance of these events for their careers. Thus, holding meetings in these locations with potential harm to attendees is coercive. Though virtual attendance may be compelling for other reasons (e.g., impact of travel on climate change, cost of travel, lost wages, child care), merely adding a virtual option should not serve as a way to skirt the underlying problem of holding a meeting in a location where attendees are not safe and would further marginalize already marginalized individuals by limiting opportunities for networking and career advancement. 
  3. In consultation with the signers of this petition, assemble an advisory committee composed of ASHA members and community activists to develop an Equity Impact Plan. The plan that is developed would ensure that ASHA’s activities and meetings are safe places for all ASHA members.

We will continue to advocate and fight for liberty and justice for all, not just when we are personally affected. 

Amanda Owen Van Horne

Susannah Levi

Leah Fabiano-Smith

Lisa Goffman

María Rosa Brea-Spahn

Reem Khamis-Dakwar


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Last Comments

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