On May 2, Politico reported that the Supreme Court of the United States plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 case that established the constitutional right for a woman to have an abortion, under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. “The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling relied on this clause when it concluded that prohibiting abortion violated a right to privacy under the Constitution by restricting a person’s ability to choose whether to have an abortion,” said Orlando Mayorquin of USA Today.
In a leaked draft of the court’s decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
The leaked draft of the court’s decision sparked protests throughout the country, including Wooster, Ohio.
On May 3, Désirée Weber, an assistant professor of political science, announced a Reproductive Rights Political Advocacy Session from noon to 4 p.m. in Kauke Hall’s second floor lounge on the same day. Weber set out a few goals for the session, goals which called for Congress to pass federal abortion protections, drive people to local polls for the May 3 primary election and to research and/or support reproductive healthcare providers locally and nationally.
A number of students and faculty members attended the session, writing letters to Congress, drawing posters and discussing future steps for demonstrations. One of those students, Samantha Harrison ’23 put the finishing touches on a poster stating, “Abortion Saves Lives.” “Banning abortions affects people of all gender and sexual orientation and is most likely going to cause people to die,” said Harrison.
At the next-door table, Rachel Catus ’22, Veda Massanari-Thatcher ’23, Grace Braver ’23, Riley Smith ’22 and Katherine Yordy ’22 made plans to hold a demonstration against the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday, May 5th at the Kauke Arch. “We plan to have an opening speaker come up and help people feel comfortable if they want to speak,” said Catus.
Numerous faculty members stopped by the second floor to help meet the session’s goals. Beatrice Adams, assistant professor of history, sat down alongside Zoe Carter ’22, Isaac Schwartz ’23 and Beth Ann Muellner, Professor and Department Chair of German Studies and Russian Studies; Global and International Studies. “I am most scared with what this means for a host of other rights and things we assume are already set,” said Adams.
One of those faculty members, Tom Tierney, professor of sociology and anthropology, wrote a postcard at one table. “After waking to the appalling, but not surprising, news that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn a fundamental reproductive right,” said Tierney, “I was heartened by how quickly students (and faculty colleagues) sprang into action.” Tierney continued, “I was glad to be able to spend some time today supporting their efforts, although I wish I could have stayed longer, but I do plan to continue offering as much support as I can in the upcoming days as they organize rallies and other forms of resistance to this impending decision.”