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After the Supreme Court’s opinion draft to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, hundreds of San Luis Obispo students and locals took to the streets to protest for abortion and reproductive rights. Cal Poly students were among the crowd of protestors.
“I think [the draft is] disgusting and appalling,” forestry and natural resource sophomore Isabel Burne said. “It’s really scary to see.”
Burne was one of the many who attended the May 5 protest during downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market. Protestors began gathering at 6:15 p.m. in the Union Bank parking lot and began their march through the Farmers’ market and other downtown businesses.
This was the second protest organized in San Luis Obispo, following the May 3 rally organized by Women’s March San Luis Obispo.
Chants of “Pro-life is life,” “You don’t care if women die,” “Keep your laws off my body” and “We say pro-choice, they say no choice” rang through the downtown streets. Bystanders showed their support by clapping and cheering.
“We’ve had several assaults on our campus already this year. Knowing that, I feel like we’re at the age where [sexual assault] is really likely to happen,” Burne said. “It’s just scary to feel like the government isn’t looking out for our safety and our rights to healthcare.”
Burne also said that abortion should not be limited to only sexual assault survivors, as they are a fraction of people who need access to abortions. There are a number of reasons why people seek abortions, including single parents who struggle to provide for their current children. Adding a newborn to the family would endanger the quality of life for the other children in danger, Burne said.
Protest attendee and animal science sophomore Corina Klein said society would be going back in time if abortion was made illegal.
“Showing that women don’t have the right to abortion and privacy is showing that we’re not worthy of any of that,” Klein said. “And [that] we’re less than the men who created these laws.”
Industrial technology and packaging freshman Merav Tzori said she felt frustrated and upset when she first heard about the leaked draft.
“It educated me a lot more about what the actual intricacies of the law [were],” Tzori said. “But there is a little bit of a like initial misconception, at least on my end, and that this would ban abortion completely.”
The draft is not the final decision of the Supreme Court, but if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then each state would decide their own abortion laws. Women living in Republican-led legislatures would be impacted the most, according to Kaiser Health News.
“While Roe v. Wade legalizes and protects reproductive healthcare and personal autonomy, there are still several present systemic barriers that currently prevent disadvantaged communities from being able to exercise this choice,” civil engineering graduate student Julia Cannon said. “If overturned, this will directly affect those same communities first and amplify reproductive injustice.”
Cannon said some of the ways people can take action is by voting in the June 7 California primary election and fund organizations that can help provide reproductive healthcare for those in need.
Cal Poly Students for Life Club did not immediately respond to a request for comment.