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Students at numerous colleges, universities staging walkouts over leaked SCOTUS draft opinion

Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report released Monday. Whatever the outcome, the Politico report represents an extremely rare breach of the court’s secretive deliberation process, and on a case of surpassing importance. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Students at a number of colleges and universities across the U.S. are staging walkouts in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion reversing the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. 

The Reproductive Freedom Protest (RFP) planned to stage walkouts at more than 20 universities across the county on Thursday.

Those participating in the walkout include students at Hamilton College, Brown University, Georgetown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Purdue University, Virginia Tech University, the University of California, Berkeley, Florida International University and the University of Virginia, among others.

RFP student organizer Dewayne Martin told The Hill in an interview that the goal of the student movement is to influence the Supreme Court’s pending decision and mobilize more pro-abortion rights candidates to run in state elections. 

“Our third goal, ultimately, is to show students … and show people in this fight that we have everything we need, no matter what level of organizing experience that you have, no matter where you come from, no matter what your background is, no matter where, no matter what color you are, no matter what your race, no matter any of that. You are ready and you are here for this moment,” Martin, a sophomore public policy major at Hamilton College, said. “And you are the right person for the moment.”

Martin said he hoped the walkouts would also encourage people to vote for pro-abortion rights candidates in the upcoming midterm elections, but added it was also part of a longer fight.

“Again, this is not a standalone event,” Martin said. “I see this as almost a Walmart greeting to the issue, but also to individuals to meet themselves again, to see themselves in the mirror and to see themselves in the process of any students and know that they can do something about this.” 

The protest comes as a political shockwave spread across the country following Politico publishing a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito overturning the landmark 1973 decision, which established the constitutional right to an abortion. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the leaked drafted was authentic, but noted it did not represent the final views of the justices. 

Many prominent figures and organizations have expressed rage and fear over the opinion, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who are among those urging Congress to pass federal abortion protections.

In a statement, Yale University student Anika Seth said she is participating in the student walkout because she knows poorer minorities, the LGBTQ community, and nonbinary people will be “disproportionately hurt” by this ruling. 

“This is why I am protesting at the Supreme Court, at Yale University, and in New Haven — in the hopes that if we can coalesce youth voices nationally, we can demand our government to provide reproductive freedom to all, always,” Seth said in a statement to The Hill.

“We’re urging people to speak out in defiance of this unmistakable act of class warfare, whether it’s by protesting, writing to lawmakers, donating to local abortion funds, voting, or anything else we can do to push for change.”

Tags abortion access abortion ban abortion ban abortion rights Brown University Georgetown University Hamilton College LGBTQ rights Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Supreme Court of the United States Supreme Court of the United States The Reproductive Freedom Protest The Reproductive Freedom Protest University of Virginia Washington D.C.

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