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UCI Students Hold Rally for Roe v. Wade, Protesting Supreme Court Draft Opinion 

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The ASUCI Office of the External Vice President and College Democrats at UC Irvine participated in the UC-wide Rally for Roe at the Student Center Terrace on Tuesday, May 10. The event hosted speakers from Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties. 

Second year drama and sociology double major Belle Flanegan, an organizer under Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UCI, spoke on the current state of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court case from 1970 which ruled that a women’s right to abortion was protected under the Constitution. 

“It was leaked by Politico last week that Roe v. Wade had the potential to be overturned by majority opinion,”  Flannigan said. 

Politico, an international news corporation, published an exclusive article that contained  a draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito stating that “We [the Court] hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” 

This document has resulted in public outcry across the nation. According to a poll from the Washington Post-ABC News, 54% of Americans agree that Roe v. Wade should be upheld.

“Even if they ban abortions in states, deaths will increase from botched [and] backalley abortions,”  Flanegan said. 

Second year psychology and spanish double major Zee Phillips, who also organized with the Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UCI, guided people to the poster-making station and gave her opinions about the male-majority Supreme Court potentially striking down the right to abortions. 

“As someone with a uterus, it’s unfair for men in a courthouse to be able to decide what we do with our bodies,”  Phillips said. 

While the topic of religious values often come up within the conversation of abortion rights, Phillips explained that these two entities do not have to clash.

“I grew up in a Christian household, but you shouldn’t let your beliefs influence what you tell other people to do. If you don’t want to get an abortion, I completely respect that, but you shouldn’t be making those decisions for other people,”  Philips said. 

Third year political science major Nini Wu, who also organized with College Democrats at UCI,   elaborated on the issue of abortion being accessible statewide. 

“In California, we’re lucky to be in a fortunate place. We have more access [to abortion] than a lot of people across the country,”  Wu said. 

California is one of six states named in Insider to have the best access for abortion care and has not only protected abortion access but has also sought to expand it. However, according to the article, states such as Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon and Wahsington, have Targeted restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP laws). 

These restrictions are expensive and unnecessary laws that target women’s health centers and abortion providers. Some TRAP laws, according to Planned Parenthood, are location requirements, forcing clinics to be located within 15 minutes within a hospital — which is often difficult in rural areas — and reporting requirements, which force providers to release private medical information to state governments.

Wu also explained how the criminalization of abortions negatively affects women of color at a disproportionate rate. 

“Mortality rates for birth-giving are very high for people of color. With the impending strikedown of Roe v. Wade, it will affect people of color and poor people more. We want to keep abortion resources [cheap, affordable and accessible],”  Wu said. 

Connor Atwood, an organizer for RiseUp4Abortion Rights!  spoke at the rally during the open mic period and shared a story from a woman who experienced a hemmorage from an illegal abortion. He further elaborated on the stakes of the Supreme Court’s decision. 

“The women who have to drop out of school, leave their jobs and stay in abusive relationships, he said “When abortion is illegal, all women, regardless of whether you can get pregnant… all women are degraded. And like my shirt says: Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement.”

Staff from the office of the External Vice President staff also prompted students to register to vote for the June 7 California primary elections. 

The rally concluded with the protesters marching towards the Anteater Plaza.

Helena San Roque is a Campus News Intern for the spring 2022 quarter. She can be reached at msanroqu@uci.edu.