Content Warning: This story deals with themes of sexual and interpersonal violence.
Miami University students gathered outside Armstrong Student Center on Monday night to protest the university’s lack of response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade and advocate for more reproductive resources on campus.
The event, organized by Feminists Working on Revolutionary Democracy (F-WORD), began with a speak-out for students to share their stories and opinions surrounding the overturn and finished with a march.
Harper Sutton, president of F-WORD, said she organized the event because of Miami’s response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, referring to a Reproductive Rights Town Hall meeting presented by the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) on Sept. 1.
“With other world-shattering events, they’ve offered resources like counseling services, specific people to respond to questions and concerns, and the only response we saw was from the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion like two months after Roe was overturned,” Sutton said. “It seemed like too little, too late.”
Sutton said the protest was also in support of more reproductive resources on campus, such as implementing emergency contraception, expanding contraceptive services and increasing the gynecology staff at Student Health Services and offering gender-affirming care on campus.
During the speak-out, students shared personal stories and opinions regarding rape, sexual harassment and abuse, pregnancy, access to contraceptives and health care.
Eden, a senior psychology and neuroscience co-major who asked to be identified by first name only for privacy, spoke out about a previous relationship they were involved in, access to contraceptives and mental health.
“It felt freeing to get it off my chest, as well as share why [abortion access] is so important, because at the time … I would have had to drive four hours to reach those resources for an abortion if I needed it,” Eden said.
During their speech, Eden emphasized the importance of supporting protests to enact change.
“It makes your voice heard, and it shows that you’re willing to speak up for it,” Eden said.
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Grace Turnwald, vice president of Students for Life, also spoke at the event.
Turnwald and other members from Students for Life held signs that read, “Pro-Life and Pro-Women.”
“When there is some event going on in the area … that has to do with abortion, it is one of [Students for Life’s] pillars to have a reaction to that and go out for a counter-protest because it’s one of the effective ways for changing minds along with supporting students and having effective education,” Turnwald said.
Turnwald shared information about miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and septic uteruses. She also discussed alternative options for abortion, such as adoption and crisis pregnancy centers that provide moral support and post-abortion counseling.
“It’s very important that the correct information gets put out there so that women can receive the proper care that they need,” Turnwald said.
Following the speak-out, Sutton led a march down Spring Street to South Campus Avenue and down High Street in front of Lewis Place, where Miami’s President Greg Crawford resides, and Roudebush Hall, Miami’s administration building. Students carried signs that read, “Bans off our bodies” and chanted, “Admin, say abortion.”
Sutton said she hopes the protest and march proved to students that they have a voice to make a change on campus.
“A lot of times, things feel futile,” Sutton said, “and I know I definitely felt like I couldn’t do anything once Roe was overturned, and I want to let them know that they still have the opportunity to make change, even if it’s on a smaller level.”