Students, community renew calls for abortion access

The afternoon march was one of many held around the country after SCOTUS draft opinion leaked

Published by Joe Wells, Date: May 4, 2022
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Around 70 people gathered in the Quad at Slippery Rock University Tuesday afternoon to show their support for abortion rights after a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion leaked.

The opinion, drafted by Justice Samuel Alito, is a majority response that would strike down Roe v. Wade and put legal access to abortions back at the state level.

The document was first reported by POLITICO.

In Slippery Rock, Amanda Reichert, a psychology and gender and diversity studies major, worked with associate professor Emily Keener to organize the rally.

“The potential repeal of Roe v. Wade directly affects me and all the people in my life,” Reichert said.

The gathering on SRU’s campus was part of a larger call to action by the Women’s March. A sign-up on its website asked supporters to show up at 5 p.m. in public across the country and demand elected officials take measures to uphold the 1973 ruling.

What started as roughly 25 people gathering on the north end of the Quad soon swelled to more than 70 marching and chanting members of the campus and surrounding community.

Many in the crowd held signs reading, “My body is not a political playground” and “Keep your laws out of my vagina.” Others took turns leading chants as the group walked around the Quad.

Graduate student Shi Malcolm, public health, said it was great to see a high turnout in the Quad for something so last minute and during finals week.

“Reproductive rights are very important to me,” she said.

For Reichert, having more than her estimated 10 people show up was exciting.

“It was really inspiring to me,” Reichert said. “Especially coming from the area we do.”

SRU is located in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania and Butler County, both of which are heavily Republican-controlled areas in the western part of the state.

On Friday morning, as news of the potential ruling began to spread on social media, Slippery Rock Borough Mayor and SRU alumni Jondavid Longo tweeted about the news and his past experience with university faculty.

“A Poli Sci [sic] professor at SRU laughed at me when I said the Supreme Court was not the ‘end all, be all’ on decisions that negatively impacted [2nd Amendment] rights. Bet she isn’t laughing now,” he wrote.

One woman showed up to briefly address the group at the gazebo. Autumn Satterfield, 21 said she is from the area with her 6-month-old child, Shepherd, and wanted to tell those marching for abortion rights that God loves them.

“I love Jesus, he brought me here today,” Satterfield said, holding Shepherd in front of her. “I can’t imagine a world where babies are killed.”

“A lot of [these women] are just hurt. They have to know that Jesus loves them.”

The decision is still a draft with no final ruling made until officially published. On Friday morning, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft’s authenticity and asked the Marshal of the Court to begin an investigation into the leak.

Keener said if the abortion rights are eliminated, those most affected by the ruling will be poor and marginalized people in need of the services.

“Usually white, rich women historically, have been able to get abortions,” Keener said. “People who have money find ways to get safe abortions.

“People who are poor … will die disproportionally.”

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Joe is a senior communication major with concentrations in converged journalism and digital media production. This is his second year with The Rocket and first as the news editor. With a penchant for asking tough questions, his byline can be found on more than 100 articles for The Rocket including many breaking news and investigative pieces. During the hours he’s not wearing the hat of student journalist, he spends his time as a husband, father and dog owner in Slippery Rock.

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