Student walk-outs to protest curbs on abortion rights spreading nationwide

On Wednesday, May 18th, thousands of young people will walk out of classrooms to demand action to protect their reproductive rights in response to the leaked draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

On Monday, May 9th, thousands of Virginia students walked out of their schools under the leadership of Generation Ratify Virginia to protest threats to their reproductive freedom and the movement is spreading nationwide.

So far, schools in ten states have expressed plans to join the walkout.

“We are in a time of unprecedented attacks on our reproductive rights,” said a statement on the website of Generation Ratify. “In 2022 alone, there have been more than 500 anti-abortion restrictions introduced across 41 state legislatures. According to the leaked draft majority opinion by Justice Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it is clear the Supreme Court will not protect young people’s reproductive freedoms.”

“With unconstitutional, anti-abortion legislation sweeping state legislatures and a Supreme Court that refuses to uphold the Constitution, young people are being stripped of their right to healthcare and bodily autonomy,” said the statement. “We need a mass youth mobilization to defend and expand our access to abortion. Take action with us.”

Participating schools so far include Dexter Regional High School (ME), Amherst Regional High School (MA), Harriton High School (PA), Langley HS (VA), Amherst Regional Middle School (MA), Lower Merion High School (PA), Sherando High School (VA), Midlothian High School (VA), Harriton High School (PA), Washington-Liberty HS (VA), Wakefield HS (VA), Poolesville HS (MD), Battlefield High School (VA), Science Leadership Academy (PA), Prince George High School (VA), David W. Butler High School (NC), Masterman HS (PA), Savannah Arts Academy (GA), The Shipley School (PA), Chapman University (CA), west career and technical academy (NV), ATECH (NV), Lynbrook High School (CA), Rochester Community High School (IN).

If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion and it would be the first time in history that a Supreme Court reversed itself on any freedom previously determined to be constitutionally protected.

Multiple Utah schools saw students walk out in support of abortion rights

“Kids our age care about our rights,” said Mak McCarey, a 17-year-old junior at Highland High School. “Even at 14, up to 18, 19 years old, we don’t want to sit back and just watch this happen.”

They were joined by hundreds of other students across Salt Lake City, who also walked out of Highland and West high schools shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday. There also were walkouts at other schools in the Salt Lake Valley, including Olympus, Taylorsville and Skyline high schools, as well as schools in other states, such as Kentucky and Texas, according to news reports.

More than 200 Urbandale High School students walked out of class in Iowa to protest a leaked draft opinion suggesting the court may overturn the ruling. They say the walkout isn’t only about reproductive rights but equal rights for all.

“Because no matter what, laws should be we all get our own rights. It’s just common sense, in my opinion, and I believe it’s not right that we even have to fight for this,” said junior Hanna Herzberg.

Student organizers say they’re concerned the laws are stifling the country’s progress.

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