When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its June Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in its chapter of Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) knew that the decision would harm patients, physicians and medical trainees alike. “Patients, particularly those from marginalized groups, will suffer threats to their reproductive autonomy and healthcare access,” said Sarah McNeilly, a second-year MD student and a leader of Einstein’s MSFC. She added, “Many physicians will be forced to deliver excellent care and advocate for their patients’ well-being in environments that are hostile to reproductive rights.”
Also of concern to the students was the threat posed to education—for them, but especially for those students at medical schools in states banning abortion. With a new restriction on already limited opportunities to develop the essential understanding and skills required for reproductive care, many in Einstein’s MSFC felt compelled to mobilize to support abortion access and protection.
United by their organization’s passion for reproductive justice, Einstein’s MSFC members channeled their outrage and heartbreak about the Dobbs decision into action, leading to the development of MSFC NYC, a citywide coalition of medical students working to ensure that people in need of an abortion or related care can access those services where it remains legal and available. Other member medical schools include those at Columbia, Weill Cornell, Mount Sinai, Hackensack Meridian, NYU and SUNY Downstate.
“As students in New York, a state with one of the strongest legal protections for abortion, we benefit from training in a place where abortion remains legal and at an institution where abortion is still appropriately performed and taught. For that reason, we felt it was that much more important to continue helping our local communities access abortion care and to support pregnant people in states with complete or near-total abortion bans that have begun taking effect,” said McNeilly, who also is among the leadership of MSFC NYC.