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“We have to think about the aspect of social work that includes mobilization, organization, and access. For so long in social work we have been very much in the room, present with our client…. [W]e’re helping them individually, I think social work[ers] felt like they were reaching the goal of the field. But the field is a social field. It’s about impacting and changing society. And in order to impact and change society, we have to be a collective. We have to organize. We have to work together. Mobilize. […] Part of that is being politically intelligent. Having political will.”
– Mery Diaz

Dr. Mery Diaz &
Dr. Erica Goldblatt Hyatt

Abortion is no longer a constitutionally-protected right.  What are the implications for the field of Social Work, our clients, and where do we go from here?

To the surprise of pretty much no one, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Dobbs case, finding that the Constitution does not confer any right to an abortion, and for good measure, went on to overrule both Roe v. Wade and the Casey precedents. The ruling literally takes away the legal right granted to women by the court almost 50 years ago.

In anticipation of the court’s decision, we reached out to guests Dr. Erica Goldblatt Hyatt and Dr. Mery Diaz, who agreed to record this episode four days after the June 24th decision. Our guests are two scholars who, for the last decade, have each advocated, written, trained and taught Reproductive Justice. In this conversation, Peter Sobota steps aside and passes the microphone to Hyatt and Diaz, who are long-time friends and dedicated Social Workers. They discuss their initial reactions; what the decision’s impact on vulnerable communities is likely to be; what is needed now from the greater community of social workers; and, what are the most practical ways social workers and others can take action in the near and long-term future.

Mery F. Diaz, DSW, is an associate professor in the Human Services Department at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY. She holds a doctorate in clinical social work from the School of Policy and Practices at the University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed clinical social worker. Her scholarship examines young people’s minoritized, racialized, and gendered school experiences, school mental health, and social justice issues. She is co-editor of Narrating Practice with Children and Adolescents (Columbia University Press, 2019) and serves on the Editorial Board of Affilia: Feminist Inquiry in Social Work. 

Erica Goldblatt Hyatt, DSW is the assistant director of the Doctorate of Social Work degree program at Rutgers University School of Social Work, where she is an Associate Teaching Professor. She is also an associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. A notable figure in the reproductive justice and advocacy movement, Dr. Goldblatt Hyatt specializes in supporting people who have or need abortions, particularly people who experience later abortion. She co-authored the ACCEPT model and DOUBLE RAINBOW (with Dr. Judith McCoyd), which are the only known evidence-supported interventions available for therapists working with individuals who have terminated a pregnancy due to fetal anomaly. 

Show Notes

Roe v. Wade: What You Can Do

Donate to Support Abortion Access – Funds by State

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