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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

UC Davis students rally for abortion rights in response to Supreme Court draft opinion

The voices of the protesters at UC Davis’ “Rally for Roe” march 

By CHRIS PONCE — city@theaggie.org 

On Monday, May 2, a leaked Supreme Court draft majority opinion revealed the Court plans to overturn the long-standing 1973 Roe v. Wade case. This decision by the Supreme Court would end federal protection over abortion access in America. States would have the final say in the legal standing of abortion and 26 states are expected to outlaw abortion should the decision be put into place, according to the Guttmacher Institue, a pro-choice research organization. 

Students swiftly responded to the majority opinion: On Monday, May 9, the Instagram for the ASUCD External Affairs Vice President advertised a protest called “UC Rally for Roe” on May 10. The protest was organized by multiple associations such as the Gender and Sexuality Commission (ASUCD GASC), Students for Reproductive Freedom (SRF) at UC Davis and the Office of the External Affairs Vice President. 

Come out tomorrow to join us in the quad for our UC Rally For Roe and make your voices heard!!” read the caption of the Instagram post by the External Affairs Vice President. 

One of the organizers was Isabella Holmes, a fourth-year English and communication double major. Holmes is the co-president of SRF, a student-led organization that advocates for intersectional reproductive justice, according to the SRF Instagram. Holmes shared her reaction to the Supreme Court draft surrounding Roe v. Wade. 

“It’s obviously super upsetting, but I wasn’t surprised,” Holmes said. “People in reproductive justice and I think a lot of people have known this was coming for a long time.”

As students began showing up at the Quad at 11:30 am on May 10, protesters made cardboard signs and shared markers and materials to help create rally signs that read slogans like, “Bans off my body.” Holmes spoke about why people were gathered that day. 

“We wanted to have a protest at Davis to kind of just show students that like we’re there for them and we care and people right here on campus are doing something about it,” Holmes said. “I know a lot people want to get involved but they don’t know where to start. So I’m really hoping this will kind of direct people towards like joining the [organizations] that are on campus and donating to abortion funds and local clinics if they can.”

SRF’s Instagram highlights the importance of intersectionality related to reproductive justice. Holmes talked about the organizers’ attempts to keep the rally diverse and inclusive to all people. 

“Another thing is, we kind of wanted to have a protest that is explicitly catered to everyone who is impacted by this,” Holmes said. “We wanted [to have] a protest that is very gender-inclusive and is very pro-abortion and intersectional. Because, a lot of times more like centrist feminism takes that away and it only caters to, like, middle-class white women.”

At 12:00 p.m., protesters began marching around the Quad. The organizers led the march, emphasizing the importance of using gender-inclusive language in their chants. For eight minutes students marched around the quad chanting slogans such as “Bans off our bodies,” “Trans rights are human rights” and “Protect Roe v. Wade.”

After eight minutes, students walked to the center of the Quad where everyone gathered to speak about Roe v. Wade. A student read a poem that described the importance of abortion. The organizers invited other students to share their opinions. 

Students proceeded to march in front of the library and then loop back to the quad. As they marched, they were met with cheers of support from onlookers. A first-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, Valeria Cera, attended the rally and shared her reaction to the news regarding Roe v. Wade.

“I was kind of pissed, man,” Cera said. “I do believe a woman should have the right to abortion and the abortion laws already set in place already have limitations to protect the child. Even though we are pro-abortion doesn’t mean we’re going to take a child out of a woman who’s in her third trimester.”

At approximately 12:30 p.m., the organizers thanked everyone for coming out as they ended the rally. Some people in the crowd chanted, stating they wanted to march downtown next. 

Cho, a molecular and cell biology major from UC Berkeley who did not provide their last name, joined their friend Cassandra at the rally. They are very active in their local community and try to stay politically active, so they proudly attended the rally with their friend. Cho said what they would tell a student who is pro-life.

“I’d encourage people to take a pause,” Cho said. “It’s really easy for us when we have our ideology [to] really hold to it and not be open to listening to anything else. Really take a pause and realize what that means for you and what does it mean to have control over somebody’s entire life and somebody’s entire choices with their body. Take a deep breath and listen to what people are saying.”

Written by: Chris Ponce — city@theaggie.org

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