WASHINGTON — Today, 12 students from Planned Parenthood Generation Action joined Vice President Kamala Harris and other college students from schools nationwide to discuss the consequences of abortion bans. The candid discussion also included students from other institutions, all focused on what reproductive rights and health has meant to them, particularly in the post-Roe world.
Four students, Soumya Jaiswal from the University of Cincinnati, Alexa Pierce from the University of Pittsburgh, Jessica Weiss from Winona State University, and Ashley Paine from the University of Idaho detailed their experiences advocating for change on their campuses.
Nationwide, the legal landscape of abortion access changes constantly. Abortion bans have eliminated all or some abortions in 18 states, and the consequences of these bans fall disproportionately on Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with low incomes, and people living in rural areas.
Excerpt of remarks as prepared for delivery by Soumya Jaiswal, student at the University of Cincinnati:
“One year ago, when my hometown of Mason became one of two Ohio cities to pass a complete abortion ban, I witnessed something remarkable happen. All of a sudden, high school and college students, retirees, PTO moms and dads, and local business owners were coming together to oppose this unjust overreach of local power. For weeks, students, parents, assault victims, and abortion patients were testifying in front of our city council about how important bodily autonomy and abortion was to them. The results were astonishing. The cruel abortion ban was overturned, and as a community, we realized the collective power we held.”
Excerpt of remarks as prepared for delivery by Alexa Pierce, student at the University of Pittsburgh:
“We’ve seen first hand how those in powerful positions, such as the Supreme Court and lawmakers, flippantly decide when and where abortion is legal. Because of this, we have to keep fighting for reproductive rights and access ourselves. We cannot count on anyone to do it for us! We keep us safe.”
Excerpt of remarks as prepared for delivery by Jessica Weis, student at Winona State University:
“As of now, Minnesota is a safe haven state for abortion, but that does not mean that it is accessible for all. Winona State University is situated in a location where the nearest pharmacy isn’t walkable, and the closest grocery store doesn’t have many of the essentials needed for reproductive health. I think of students without cars, with mobility issues, as well as students who are working one or two jobs on top of going to school to make ends meet. I think of the students who simply cannot take time off from school or work or many other things that students have going on in their lives.”
Excerpt of remarks as prepared for delivery by Ashley Paine, student at the University of Idaho:
“People on campus are upset. They are outraged about the memo. We know after 40 students marched together at a Bans Off Our Body rally last weekend the majority of the community does not support this. The extreme lawmakers don’t know me. They don’t know our stories. This small group of extreme lawmakers are making Idaho look bad, and while there is a lot we need to improve about our state, Idahoans deserve the right to access abortion and to talk about abortion right to abortion, just like anybody else.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.