SPSP Statement on the 2023 Annual Convention in Light of the Overturning of Roe v. Wade
Like many of our members, SPSP was deeply disturbed by the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Policies that have such a destructive effect on the mental and physical health of pregnant people and limit their rights are not at all aligned with SPSP's mission and priorities. Many states are now poised to implement laws that restrict reproductive rights. This includes Georgia, where we are currently set to host the 2023 Annual Convention.
SPSP is committed to ensuring a safe and productive experience for anyone who attends our Annual Convention. The SPSP Board of Directors is in discussion on how to proceed with our plans in Atlanta, Georgia for the 2023 Annual Convention. We are bearing in mind the needs of people who are or will be pregnant at the time of the Annual Convention, who may not feel safe traveling to Georgia.
We will alert members as soon as more details about the convention are available after the Board of Directors meetings in July. As our Board deliberates, we'd like to be clear about the challenges of relocation so that everyone is aware of what is at stake for the organization:
- Atlanta was chosen as the convention site several years ago. Our contract with the hotel requires that we pay them for a portion of the revenue lost if we cancel. If we were to withdraw today, we would be faced with penalties of roughly $830,000. This cost will increase as we get closer to the event.
- SPSP has always been committed to keeping convention registration costs down, especially for our student and early career members. It would be challenging to do this while absorbing penalties that currently amount to one-third of our annual operating budget. Relocating would mean having to find those funds elsewhere.
- We book convention venues years in advance because of the time it takes to find a location that meets our size and space needs. We would currently have eight months. While it may be possible to find an alternate location, we cannot guarantee availability or the increase of expenses to secure the venue.
- As an organization that prioritizes advocacy, we understand that there is uncertainty as to whether boycotts can affect long-term legislative change. As we deliberate, we are listening to guidance from leaders on the ground in Georgia, such as Stacey Abrams and Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock (as outlined in our previous statement to move forward with the convention in Atlanta).
We have a priority to ensure that our Annual Convention is a safe and inclusive environment where attendees can share their work, connect with their colleagues, and forge new partnerships. We thank our members for their patience as we determine the best course forward.