A Statement of Action: Roe v. Wade

Statements & Positions,
This statement was released to the SPA Membership on August 25, 2022. Access the co-released Framework of Action re: Roe v. Wade with this link.

A Statement of Action: Roe v. Wade

Endorsed by the SPA Board of Directors in August 2022

As national and global crises continue to destabilize our lives, SPA Leadership, including the Diversity & Social Justice Committee (DISJ) and the SPA Board of Trustees, have spent considerable time and intentional effort discussing what it means for SPA to not only be in solidarity with communities affected, but also how to respond and actively address these crises. The latest concern that is on many of our members’ minds is the disturbing and complicated effects of overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on the 24th of June 2022.

In December 2021, the SPA Board of Directors approved our 2022-2027 Strategic Framework, which included cementing SPA’s values of passion, commitment, and dedication. It is our second value of “commitment to building an inclusive community of ethically sound, engaged and diverse professionals,” which frames this message “A Statement of Action: Roe v. Wade.”

We believe that SPA cannot, and should not, attempt to respond to every national and international social or political issue. We believe that our strategic framework must guide and ground our responses with intentionality and be rooted in our values and our work as personality assessment professionals. We do not want to be an organization that makes statements of solidarity with no clear connection to action because this is unhelpful for the people it concerns.  We recognize that we have a plurality of experiences and beliefs within our society, and it is our responsibility as your professional society to show our ethics in action by engaging with and through these differences to advance our mission, vision, and values.

We know that speaking with “one voice” in a letter on issues as controversial as the recent SCOTUS decision is near impossible given the diversity of our membership. We also acknowledge the very U.S. centric nature of this statement. Nevertheless, we did not want to exclude our international colleagues who are very much a part of the “we” that is SPA who have expressed their concerns to us about the recent SCOTUS decision. We recognize that different opinions likely exist within SPA and in response we are aware that regardless of what we may each personally feel, SPA is clear that what matters most at this moment is the fact that overturning Roe v. Wade will impact the work we do, how we feel about our work, and the people we serve.  

An APA statement created on 3 May 2022 outlines many of the issues U.S. members should be aware of as professionals, and we strongly encourage you to review this document. Utilize it as a starting point for contextualizing the issues ahead. We also encourage you to visit the APA mental health and abortion page where you can find various collated resources related to the topic for further education.

Members have and continue to reach out to the Board and our Executive Director about concerns regarding our 2023 Annual Convention being held in Austin, Texas. For those concerned, our convention venues are decided in advance for contracting purposes to get the most affordable rate for attendees. To move the convention will cost SPA at least $160,000 alone in cancellation fees currently. Additionally, we would need to find another hotel venue with less than six months until the convention. When the Board discussed locations last year, we had an intentional conversation of what it would mean for us to bring our convention to Texas or not and about the potential impact of either decision. We considered the reality that we have not been to Texas in almost 20 years, and we thought it important to pay homage to a community that makes up an important section of our membership, the Center for Therapeutic Assessment, which is in Austin. Furthermore, there are many research labs and universities in Texas and the surrounding states that SPA should consider engaging with. Although Austin is historically considered a more progressive part of Texas, the political climate in Texas has many issues facing multiple communities. Reproductive injustice is not the only issue facing Texans and many overlapping social justice concerns were under assault in Texas even prior to this major political climate shift which we could not have anticipated when we signed our contract last year. 

In our effort to turn solidarity into action, the SPA Board of Directors requested the DISJ committee propose a framework to help guide leadership and membership in how to respond to societal issues. What follows is a statement written by the Ksera Dyette, PsyD, chair of the DISJ Committee, and guided by the input of her committee members in response to our call to action. This statement is endorsed and supported by the SPA Board of Directors. Within this message, she provides a framework for thinking about the impacts that reproductive justice has on our work as assessment professionals, the upcoming SPA Annual Convention in Austin, TX, and the considerations SPA leadership have thought through regarding this conference location. Although the framework is contextualized from the perspective of addressing members concerns about Roe v. Wade, it zooms out to briefly show how the framework can be applied to advancing diversity and social justice within our society and toward our external efforts. It also includes a call to action for us as assessment professionals to consider moving forward. The letter then closes with a small collection of resources for your education and potential calls for action within SPA.

We welcome any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns, and we ask that you share them with our Executive Director, Nathan Victoria, at nvictoria@spaonline.org. He will compile all the responses and share with SPA Leadership. We also will be hosting a town hall regarding implications for assessment professionals regarding reproductive justice in the Fall, and registration will open by September 1, 2022.