BREAKING: Student responses to SCOTUS leak on possible Roe v. Wade overturn

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A leaked initial draft of the Supreme Court of the United States’ majority opinion included a call to overturn 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade. Image used under Creative Commons Licenses.

CONTENT WARNING: The following article mentions abortion, sex, rape, sexual assault and incest due to the nature of the topic.

Monday, May 2, at 8:32 p.m., POLITICO released an initial draft of the SCOTUS majority opinion on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act. The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, calls for the overruling of Roe v. Wade. This 1973 landmark case federally protected the right to abortion as an extension of the constitutional right to privacy.

With debates rising across the nation, we asked students to share their perspectives.

Reporters walked into classrooms and asked volunteers to share their perspectives on the current situation regarding abortion rights. Students who volunteered were read the following information and then asked to speak about their opinion.

“In 2018, Mississippi passed the Gestational Age Act banning abortions after 15 weeks gestation, providing an opportunity to challenge Roe v. Wade. In the SCOTUS case challenging the Mississippi Law, a court leak found a majority of justices to call for an overturn of Roe v. Wade because the right to abortion is not a historical foundation of the U.S. nor is it protected by the constitution. Many Republican states have trigger bans in place, such that if Roe is overturned, abortions will be banned altogether or after six weeks gestation, even in cases of rape, with exceptions for medical reasons.”

After a few hours, we realized we had many more volunteers closer to the pro-choice side than the pro-life side; at that point, we decided to search for more pro-life representation to create a fair balance. During this search, we still had many pro-life students who refused to comment. If you are a student and would like to voice your opinion anonymously, you may do so through this Google Form, and we will update the article accordingly.

Below are the opinions of students. We believe anonymous responses will best protect the privacy of members of our community while fully representing the diverse stories and perspectives of said community.

The following responses aligned more with the pro-life ideology.

“I think that it depends on the circumstance. Imagine you get raped and pregnant; that’s not your fault. If you’re choosing to interact and make a baby, be safe, but if you get pregnant, that’s on you. Once the baby has a heartbeat, it can feel it. I feel like that’s just cruel. But if you don’t have the money to care for a child, that’s tough too.”

“Personally, I believe that abortion should be illegal based on my moral values, not necessarily as defined by my religious values. I would say that they’re both similar, but I would look at it from both viewpoints. I would say I want it to be overturned. I think that a lot of the issues surrounding abortion are not the actual abortion itself. It’s what leads up to it. I think that what our society needs to do is, instead of looking at the act of abortion, we need to look at how we can solve the problems that come before it and the problems that cause it. I believe that life begins at conception and that [abortion] takes away a person’s right to live based on your personal choices. It is a shame that women are taken advantage of by men and that they are powerless in these situations. But we don’t necessarily need to get rid of these babies. We should have systems and programs in place that help these women along their journey so that they can have that baby and put it up for adoption. I’m actually adopted myself, so I would speak highly in favor of adoption. I think it’s a great choice instead of an abortion. But as I said, we also need to look at what causes abortions to be necessary. What are we failing to do to prevent these situations from coming up? As long as we continue to try and solve the effect and not the problem itself, nothing will change. We will always be at odds, people will always be fighting over it, and in the end, no decision will ever be made because nobody can ever agree on something. It’s a problem, and we’re not solving the problem. We’re trying to solve the effect, and I think [the problem] is really what we should be focusing on.”

“I lean more towards pro-life just because I believe that everything is important, and– not to be like God related, this has nothing to do with that– I just think everything happens for a reason. I think how they had it was good– that up to a certain amount of time, you could have an abortion. [Abortion] is not only damaging for the child, but it’s damaging to your body and your health, [even] your mental health because I’ve heard stories about people having abortions and they never recover or messing up their uterus because they’re essentially sucking out the child out of you. I just think that’s not okay. There are cases like rape, and I think that can be understandable. But there are still better avenues, such as setting it up for adoption, even though the foster homes can be horrible. Abortion may come in handy, but I think there are so many better options, and everything plays out for a reason and that maybe you were just meant to be a mother. I think women definitely should still have the right to [abortion] because it’s a free country, and you should be able to do whatever you want. But I think when a baby has grown to a certain degree, that’s awful because that’s essentially killing life. I definitely lean towards pro-life because it’s an innocent child, and it’s still scientifically alive no matter what. I think just a sperm and an egg are life. But I also understand cases where it may be important, [and at] the end of the day, it is the person’s decision.”

“If you try to [abort] a baby right before it’s born, I think that’s a little [******] up. That’s like a whole live baby. But in just a month or two, [the baby] is not even there yet. Everybody’s so against it until they get a girl pregnant, and then they’re like, ‘I’m not against it anymore.’ Honestly, if I were to get a girl pregnant, I’d probably man up and [take care of it]. But it’s her decision. If she wants to [get an abortion], that really [*******] sucks, but there’s nothing I can do about it, and it’s not [in] my control. When [the fetus] is not fully grown or anything, it’s not too bad. [These discussions] really can be heated. That’s why I try to stay out of them as much as possible. I don’t have an official opinion. I can’t say anything about it just because it’s so heated. So many people think so many different things. If it’s irrelevant to my life at the moment, I try to stay out of it. Everybody has their own opinion, [so] to each their own.”

“I think [the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade] is good. We should protect the unborn and their life. They don’t have control over their own life. So a mother, though it is her choice with her body, shouldn’t have the right to take the life of someone who doesn’t have control over their own life at that point. I’m hoping that what came out will be carried through. We’ll see what happens. It is a leak as of now, but I feel pretty confident. I hope that it goes through. There’s not too much I can say right now. I’d wait to further comment until we hear from the Supreme Court about what’s going to strike down.”

“A lot of people will say that raping and harm to women in terms of they get pregnant and then they want to have an abortion. I know that can sometimes be a difficult choice like they will want to [have an abortion] because something bad had happened to them. I know that’s very common in the United States; howeverI do not think there should be abortions at all, no matter what. From the moment the sperm hits the egg, there’s a baby forming, and I don’t think at any point in time that baby should be killed because it is a life no matter how it was formed. Even if something bad happened to [the woman], there are ways you can overcome that. The baby shouldn’t deserve death as a punishment for what happened to the pregnant woman. I support life, and I don’t think it should be okay to kill a baby, no matter how many weeks into it it is.”

The following responses aligned more with the pro-choice ideology.

“I’m pretty disgusted with the whole thing. I get being like ‘Oh, well, we need to value human life,’ but why aren’t you valuing the life of the woman in that situation? And if we’re going to be talking about the life of a child after that– if the woman was poor or underage, that child is going to be raised in poverty and in a harsh environment. And most of the time, it’s not even safe for the kid in question. They’re just going to have a horrible life in general. It should be a choice to have an abortion or not, like these people. Why don’t they teach about safer sex and how to protect yourself rather than letting us ‘face the consequences of our actions.’ I just don’t understand because some people can’t afford birth control, and some people have no choice but to have a kid. The kid is not going to be living a much better life in a foster care system or an orphanage because a lot of the time they are abused there. It’s just really messed up that we’re putting a rule against women’s bodies and choices when all these like women here like saying they don’t want that. And [others] are just talking over them. I just feel like it’s really gross. If it does get to the point where there are no abortions, people are going to do at-home ones, which can just result in the death of both people. And a lot of the time I just hear a lot of religious stuff about it, like ‘Oh, God wouldn’t want that,’ but what does the woman want? I get being religious and stuff, but what about the people here? The world is already super overpopulated. It’s just gonna get more messed up, you know?”

“I feel like if this was something that was ruled protected under the Constitution, why are we trying to challenge it? Just leave it alone. The government, in general full of men, is making a decision about a woman’s reproductive organs and body. I personally feel like women have it so hard. We’ve been having it hard since the 1970s, when women back then had to fight for rights and everything. And now it’s like they’re trying to take this voice away from us again. That is extremely unfair. We have to sit here and be extremely careful when we go out. We have to make sure that we have a group of people with us, instead of just us being alone. Even with just a group of people, we’re still not safe. Men, in general, will just do whatever they please and feel like they have the power [to] because they are men. And the government is not trying to do anything about it. Instead, they are trying to strike down on women. We just can’t get pregnant on our own. It takes a man to impregnate a woman. So why not stop the man? I don’t get that. Once [Roe v. Wade] is over, [abortion laws] are left to the states. That is extremely unfair. The Constitution should have been rewritten because Founding Fathers weren’t all there. All the women out there are going to be scared [and] try to do things at home instead of going to a doctor. They can kill themselves just to abort a fetus. And then now, the government’s like, ‘Oh, well, you either keep it or you go to jail.’ There’s like no wiggle room for women anymore. We are just kind of just in the corner now. And it’s ridiculous. I’m a little scared for myself because it’s just what it is. All the teenagers are at this point where yes, we’re gonna start having sex and everything. And sometimes, I mean, we do things that we may not mean to do, but I mean, it’s in the heat of the moment. A lot of teens can get pregnant. For the government to, as a whole, be like, ‘You know what, women, you’re the issue,’ is ridiculous. I’m gonna cry now. It is crazy that we are now at this point. It’s like history repeating itself again. They don’t care. And you get to just deal with it. You have to suffer. You have to deal with these kids. The man has a choice to be in a child’s life or not, [whereas] the women, they have no choice. It’s hard to just turn away from something growing inside of you. You can’t just turn away from it. Men don’t care. They [have sex] and go. That’s really it.”

“I’m pro-abortion. It’s your choice. I’m not saying I did it, but say me and a person had sexual interactions. Men nowadays leave after they do it. They’ll leave a girl. Then it’ll be left up to that girl. If she’s financially unstable, why would a person want another person to go through something like that? In most scenarios of teen pregnancy, the teenager doesn’t have money to provide. [Also,] why would you want to carry somebody’s baby if they did something harmful to you? That’s gonna leave scars, and just looking at the kid will bring trauma. I think it’s a man above just saying, ‘these women need to keep their babies,’ but they are not the ones carrying [babies] for nine months. They’re not the ones providing food to put inside themselves to keep the baby nutritious. At the end of the day, you’re paying for the abortion. The government is not paying for the abortion: $700 is just coming out of your pocket. So how come it’s natural? What’s the point of banning abortion?”

“I’ve looked into when women usually find out that they’re pregnant, and it’s usually between five to seven weeks. It’s a short time, it’s a woman’s body, and you can never truly tell how or what’s going on. I know Missouri is trying to pass the bill that even if you’ve been trafficked, and that’s why you’re pregnant, it would still be legal to get an abortion. At the end of the day, only she knows what she’s been going through. She knows why she’s in that situation, and being able to tell her, ‘you have to raise that child for adoption or foster care’ a lot of times is unsafe. Maybe the child’s not going to have a good life. A lot of the people who tried to pass these bills didn’t know what was going on about the ectopic pregnancies when confronted. The people trying to pass these bills, in general, aren’t doing the research. Having somebody who’s not well-versed in the whole situation makes decisions on our behalf, making it increasingly more scary to be a woman in America and not have that choice.”

“I think it’s stupid that they’re thinking about abortion because women have a right to choose whether it’s rape, incest, financial issues, college, their future– it’s just a choice. They might not even be ready. They don’t want a kid. It’s their choice– the law [and] no one should take that away from them. It’s stupid. [****] the government.”

“​​This makes me feel sad to hear because I do not agree with this. If they overturned it, I could see women still take the measures needed to not have a child they don’t want to have. That could mean dangerous abortions such as hanger abortions, where women stick like hangers up themselves because, in the 1900s or something, they couldn’t get abortions. This puts the woman in danger and her possible child in danger, too; if she wanted to get an abortion and couldn’t, she probably isn’t able to take care of that child. Women have a right to choose for their bodies. I don’t think anybody likes the term ‘abortion’ just because no one would want to kill their child. At the same time, it’s important for victims of incest or rape. These women need a way out, and this is their way out. And if you take that away, that can change their life forever.”

“I have always supported the passing of Roe v. Wade. I think it is a woman’s right– a person’s right– to have an abortion because it is their choice. I feel like it has changed into this competition between Republicans and Democrats, pro-life, pro-choice. If you’re pro-life, you want babies to be born; you’re probably Christian, you’re probably Republican. If you’re pro-choice, you’re trying to kill children. These are the viewpoints that [have] been taken, but I feel like that’s not the point. The point is that it is a person’s choice. It’s bodily autonomy, and if they want to have a kid, sure, but it’s also telling someone who wants an abortion that’s fine. Also, the whole idea that you’re killing a person is not true. It’s not a person. It’s not born. It’s not alive. It’s like an egg. We eat eggs every day. It’s not alive. It’s not more like not a thing. So I just hope that that’s known enough in the Supreme Court and that we keep [Roe v. Wade] in place because it’s terrifying as a woman to think that I don’t have choice over my body. All I can do is hope. Just hope.”

“It’s unfair and irresponsible for people that are past the age where they can have children or male and just can’t have children decide on this issue. They’re actually having abortions, getting to make that health decision for millions of girls and women. It’s a health decision for women, and it’s not being made by people who would maybe have to make that decision for themselves. People don’t have any say with those trigger bans. It’s completely unfair, and I don’t think it’s a decision to be made by nine people.”

“I’m pro-choice. I think abortion is a woman’s right, and I don’t think that anyone should have a say on what a woman can or cannot do, especially old white men who have no knowledge about it more than women do. There are a lot of times when a woman needs to have the option. There’s always cases of rape and incest. There’s always medical concerns. Or, just like in general, they’re not always ready to be pregnant or to have a baby. It’s irresponsible to force women to have babies if they cannot financially support it at their stage of life. That option needs to be like a choice.”

May 4, 9:06 p.m update:

“I am heavily pro-choice. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It means allowing a woman to choose for herself if abortion is necessary in her specific situation, which could include rape, incest, teen pregnancy, financial issues, severe malformations of the fetus that make it incompatible with life, etc. Abortion is a very sensitive topic for me. Do I think aborting a baby in the second or third trimester is OK? No. Do I think aborting a baby due to the parents not desiring the gender of their child is OK? Again, no. But, just because I don’t agree with these specific situations, that does not mean I would ever yank that choice away from a woman altogether. Taking away that choice with the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a violation of human rights and a huge step back in our society altogether. Alito saying that abortion does not fit within our constitution is terrifying. Do you know what else does not “fit” in our constitution? Same-sex marriage, rights for people of color, interracial marriage- the list goes on. So, with that I say, I respect your opinion on abortion. You can dislike it, you can view it as a crime, you can view it as murder – either way, you do not have to personally have an abortion, just don’t take that right away from everyone else as well.”

“If a person gets pregnant, whether father or mother, they should have the right to keep or not keep their child. It is their body, their choice, and it does not matter if they have a form of life inside of them. Even if the fetus were to grow up and become the next Einstein, it is still completely the pregnant person’s choice, because it is their body. There are people who physically have demands to not be pregnant. For example, I personally have a form of combined scoliosis. When one becomes pregnant with scoliosis, the curves worsen because of the nutrition leaked to the baby. That can cause chronic pain, and a parent should have the choice to abort if needed. There are other examples; ureteral diseases (cancer), high death rate once pregnant, and others can become harmful to a parent. If someone was forcefully raped at their lowest point in their life, it could drive them to suicide if they gave birth. Texas is run by privileged, old, white men who’ve probably never been in any situation similar to any of these. There are so many morals that go against Pro-Life, and yet they claim that they are morally correct. It is their choice.”

May 5, 9:03 a.m. update:

“This is sickening, and I think that ignorant 17 year olds- especially of the male variety- should leave their opinions out of this subject. The 14th amendment protects all from invasion of privacy, and if Roe gets overturned, we will live in a dystopian society where will have Texan laws where people can report their neighbors for having an abortion. Do we live in Communist Russia? Why do conservatives think they get the right to impose their religion into the government- which goes against the foundational principles of our nation- on unsuspecting women who just want the right to choose what they do with their own bodies? This entire issue is puzzling to me and when I see conservatives, especially those in Missouri making illogical Pro-Life arguments it just goes to show that hypocrisy is alive and well in our current society.”