UNC Students React to Overturning of Roe

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Photo by Gayatri Malhotra

According to the United States Census, young adults generally vote less than any other age range. Yet many college students consider themselves politically and socially aware, particularly when it comes to national issues such as the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The 1973 legal case declared state restrictions on access to abortion as unconstitutional. At the time of the ruling, the Supreme Court found criminalization of abortion to be a violation of an individual’s right to privacy, protected under the 14th Amendment.

The reversal, made official on June 24 after a leaked draft in May, ended the constitutional right to abortion. Many states, including Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama, have near total abortion bans with exceptions only in severe medical emergencies.

Many Americans, including students at the University of Northern Colorado, feel that they are losing control over their own bodies.

Lexi Schindler, a first-year music education major at UNC, said she was disgusted when she first heard the ruling.

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“It’s controlling women when it’s taken away. It doesn’t affect anyone the way it does women,” Schindler said.

Several UNC students said that despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, they believe access to abortion is a constitutional right that has been stripped from millions of American women.

Amy Aguirre, a second-year psychology major, said she is struggling to come to terms with the ruling.

“There’s just no right way to be mad about it. It’s just such a gross, terrible feeling to have your rights taken away,” she said.

Aguirre also expressed concern over effects the ruling could have over UNC students and college students across America.

“It’s like an emotional and physical toll on our bodies because we think we are getting progressive and then we are sent back,” she said.

The UNC Counseling Center, located on the second floor of Cassidy Hall, encourages students to take advantage of provided resources if needed.

When it comes to abortion, the term bodily autonomy is often thrown around. According to the United Nations Population Fund, it can be defined as the fundamental right to have agency over one’s own body. The issue of bodily autonomy is central to the question of the right to abortion. While exact definitions may differ, Aguirre said the concept of bodily autonomy is important.

“It’s the right to do whatever you want with your body, no matter the reason,” she said.

A 2022 study from Pew Research Center found that 61% of American adults believe abortion should be legal in most cases. Despite this majority, the Supreme Court’s decision has allowed abortion to be nearly entirely banned in multiple states.

“People in power are going to stay in power,” Aguirre said. “They don’t really care what we think.”

The issue of abortion is not as cut and dry for some students as it is for others. Christian Leidholm, a fourth-year music education and music technology major at UNC, said he considers himself to be both pro-life and pro-choice.

“I do believe a child is a chance of life, but on the other side, a woman shouldn’t be forced to carry a child,” he said.

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