Duke Faculty Awarded Bass Connections Funding for Project Focusing on Women’s Reproductive Health Post-Roe


Duke Bass Connections has awarded Division of Women’s Community & Population Health faculty Beverly Gray, MD, and Jonas Swartz, MD, MPH; and Wesley Hogan, PhD, research professor with the Franklin Humanities Institute and History, $30,000 for continuation of the work on “Reproductive Health Post-Roe.” This team has been working together with Duke graduate and undergraduate students to document the historical aspects that abortion care providers are experiencing since Spring 2023. This funding will allow them to continue their work in the next academic year.

The aim of this Bass Connections program is to document — in real time — the political and ethical dimensions of the situation that local health care providers now find themselves in as they attempt to provide comprehensive reproductive care. Students will work with this team to document the effects of the new legislation on reproductive health care providers, as well as the consequences for people’s health.

The project will address the following as part of the goals outlined in the Bass Connections proposal for which the award was received:

Sharing the post-Roe environment in North Carolina as a Duke provider

In states where abortion is suddenly illegal, ob/gyns across the South are now often forbidden from speaking out about the impact of this decision on the “standard of care” they can provide. Often, health care institutions may be reluctant to take a public stand on abortion to avoid stigma, protesters or threats to public funding. As a result, a small number of doctors in the U.S. South have the freedom to speak candidly about the impact of the Roe v. Wade ruling in the everyday lives of their patients. 

Understanding and analyzing life in the post-Roe landscape; building an archive

Drs. Gray and Swartz note that it is essential to document the medical, ethical and political conditions of the moment from their perspectives. The goal of the archive that will be built is to produce qualitative data that will inform health care policy, law and media coverage going forward in the post-Roe era. This will be done by compiling oral histories, gathering and organizing archival research, documenting media coverage and conducting interviews. Students will create an audio and documentary archive chronicling the work of the Duke Ob/Gyn Family Planning team. This will include short audio and video narratives of team members.

An additional component will be a Story+ Project, the focus of which will be to create accessible, clear, engaging stories on social media and in short audio excerpts/podcasts that clarify the pre-Roe standard of care that was possible prior to June 2022, and how that has changed since the June 2022 Dobbs decision.

The project team also had representation at the Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase in April 2024.