Abortion walkout organizers speak on consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade


Kevin Chien , News Beat

Hundreds of students walked out of class in solidarity to protest the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade ruling on Thursday, May 26.

Students marched along the lawn while bearing signs reading messages like ”My body, my choice,” and “Keep your politics off my body.” The walkout took place at approximately 11:30 a.m..

Students hold up signs during the walkout

Junior Kris Koh, who organized the walkout, said he believes the event is more than just a protest for reproductive rights.

“At the center of this attack [on Roe v. Wade] is a form of control on women,” Koh said. “The consequences that has on their livelihood is so much deeper than abortion.”

The Roe v. Wade case was established in 1973 and ruled that a woman may choose to terminate pregnancy during the first trimester, but her ability to do so afterwards can be regulated by state legislation.

A May 2 Politico article leaked a draft of a majority Supreme Court opinion to strike down the landmark case; if this were to happen, states would have ability to regulate abortion at any point during a preganancy.

The walkout garnered an unexpected turnout, which Koh said caused the organizers to move the venue to the grass field. It was previously to take place in the main quad. 

However, the walkout’s success did not come spontaneously: Koh had reached out to several of his friends beforehand to encourage participation. Junior Sina Sabet worked alongside Koh to plan the walkout and said that he used social media to spread the word.

“It’s a combination of people really valuing this as an issue, which is absolutely a thing that we should be doing, and you get to ditch third,” Sabet said jokingly. 

Juniors walk through school holding signs to protest the ban

However, there were doubts concerning the inclusivity of the walkout. Koh said a friend of his felt that those who identified as transgender or gender-fluid were not included during the protest. 

Koh said that while the fight for access to abortion is inclusive of everyone affected by a possible ban, he emphasized that it would have the largest effect on women.

“As a trans kid myself I understand … but I will say that women have to be centered in this,” Koh said. “Looking at this from a political standpoint, this is a target on women, and it’s a form to control and reinforce the nuclear family structure.”

Koh and Sabet both said they believe that this walkout will have a lasting impact on beliefs surrounding abortion and other pressing issues at the school. 

“For the people who didn’t participate in the walkout, I hope for them it was striking that this is something that people are really passionate about,” Koh said. “To people in the walkout, I really hope that it motivated them and encouraged them to take action in their own ways.”

Sabet also said that the walkout has the potential to shape the student body to be educated and active.

“I think walkouts are a really good way because people want to leave their class, but also it gets them to hear all this, and we really need that,” Sabet said.

Sabet said he hopes that this event will serve as motivation for students to go out in the future and protest more, and states will continue to pass protections if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“I want change. I’m optimistic,” Sabet said.