Resistance and response
This thesis analyzes and contextualizes Tulane University's response to the Supreme Court decision Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade’s Constitutional protection of abortion. As a result, states like Louisiana have criminalized abortion, setting the healthcare landscape back by nearly half a century. Local universities, such as Tulane University, a private institution located in New Orleans, are faced with understanding the implications of this decision on their community. This thesis balances detailing the legal landscape prior to Dobbs, the strategies of abortion mobilization on both sides and the impact of student activism with an empirical research study focusing on Tulane University. Official press releases and university messaging were content coded to determine Tulane’s position on the issue, which desired to remain neutral while maintaining inconsistent messaging. A sample of campus leaders, both students and employees, who are stakeholders and activists in the issue of abortion were interviewed using a semi-structured qualitative framework that asked about employing collective action, gauging the university response, the role of their department or organization within the larger community, and how they are adjusting to this new landscape. Several themes were derived from the responses, including expansion of resources, feelings of confusion and frustration, using art as a mode of expression, disconnect between the administration and community, empowerment of voices, expectations of the role of the institution, and issues of maintaining momentum in the future.