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Miami University students react to Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade

Miami University students, until June 24, had not known an America without the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade. With the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the case, students are now planning for the post-Roe future. 

For Alora Penner, senior political science major, the news came at work. 

“When I first found out, someone actually just casually mentioned ‘Did you see the news?’ and so I had to Google it,” Penner said. “And after I found out… I actually just wanted to start crying and I had to hold myself together because I was at work.”

Penner considers herself “extremely pro-choice” and is worried for the changes she believes could be made easier by the removal of the protection under Roe v. Wade. 

What also worries Penner is the nature of illegal abortions that could become more common with the new abortion legislation.

“One of the biggest … quotes you kind of see floating around, is that, ‘They're not banning abortion, they're banning safe abortion,’ and I agree with that,” Penner said. “They will never be able to completely stop abortion.”

Ohio’s own heartbeat bill went into effect hours after the Supreme Court ruling, restricting the legality of abortions to approximately six weeks of pregnancy. 

Deena Green, sophomore philosophy major and president of Students for Life Miami, believes that anti-abortion legislation needs be more far reaching. For now, there are multiple states that still allow abortion.

But for now, Green celebrates the win for the anti-abortion movement and is hopeful for the new legislation’s ability to save lives.

“It's hopefully gonna save lives, lives of unborn children,” Green said. “And I know there's gonna be a lot of difficulties that come out of that and people are really stressed and kind of discouraged right now about it, which is really sad, and I hope there can be a lot of healing with that.”

Harper Sutton, president of Miami’s Feminists Working on a Revolutionary Democracy (FWORD), also said that Ohio’s heartbeat bill has not completely ruled out abortion for pregnant people.

“While it may not be accessible directly in Ohio, through legal means, it is still legal to go somewhere else to [get an abortion],” Sutton said. “While the overturning of Roe is scary and definitely causes a huge access issue, it's not stopping abortion whatsoever.”

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Sutton, who describes herself as “abortion positive,” is from Kentucky, which had a trigger ban in place to immediately ban all abortions after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“It's rough because to begin with there were only two clinics in Kentucky,” Sutton said. “So those closed that day and they had to call these people and cancel their appointments. And it was just really, really tough.”

Courtney Crell, a senior linguistics student, said she worries about a lack of exceptions for the complex reasons for abortions including ectopic pregnancies or pregnancies as the product of rape or incest.  

“I don't think I could ever go through [with] having an abortion, but I also don't want to take away the choice of someone else,” Crell said. “I am not to tell someone what to do with their body. And there are so many complications that it's just not right for me to push to other people what I think is right.”

In the Dobbs decision, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested revisiting cases that established same-sex marriage, birth control rights and other cases decided using the right to privacy. Crell said she worries about what the future could hold for those rights. 

“I think with the overturning [of Roe], it opens the gate to so many more rulings that were based off of the 14th Amendment right to privacy,” Crell said.

Rose vonErden, junior psychology major and vice president of Students for Life Miami, was at a fellowship training for Students For Life America when the decision was released. 

“We were in the hotel, [and] they were like, ‘So guys, we’re gonna go to the Supreme Court,’” vonErden said. “And we rushed to the Supreme Court. Super fun … there were so many people.”

For vonErden, the next steps are for new legislation to further restrict abortion access and expand resources for pregnant people. 

“So I think the biggest impact [of the overturning] would be basically a morale boost for all pro-lifers to take action by marketing better,” vonErden said, “because I think that was always our problem: marketing.”

To Sutton, post-Roe efforts should be placed in collectivization.

“I feel like it's really important that we collectivize as the public to really put pressure on the government to enshrine these things outside of  implied protections under the Constitution, because otherwise,” Sutton said, “anything can happen at this point.”