Walkout for abortion rights takes place at OSU

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Organizers gather with various signs for a walkout in the Memorial Union quad on Oregon State University’s Corvallis, Ore. campus on May 5. The walkout was held in response to a leaked draft decision that the Supreme Court will be overruling Roe v. Wade, which was a landmark decision stating the U.S. Constitution protects a women’s choice to have an abortion.

Riley LeCocq, News Contributor

Update: The photo for this story has been changed from a previous photo of a protest that took place on May 3 at the Benton County courthouse. 

Students at Oregon State University walked out of class to show support for abortion rights in light of a leaked draft suggesting the Supreme Court may overturn the Roe v. Wade case.  

Decided in 1973, Roe v. Wade was the case in the supreme court that ruled a woman’s freedom to choose whether or not to have an abortion is protected by the United States Constitution. On May 2, an initial draft decision indicating Roe v. Wade would be overturned by the supreme court was leaked.

In response to this, on May 5 at 12 p.m., roughly 25 students gathered in the Memorial Union quad on OSU’s Corvallis, Ore. campus dressed in green and armed with signs supporting abortion rights. A flyer calling for the walkout had been passed around campus the day prior. 

“I am showing up for the rights of people with uteruses who deserve to have body autonomy and to protect the rights of their own bodies and make decisions based on what they believe and not a bunch of white men believe in the supreme court,” said Mary McClelland, an OSU student who attended the walkout. 

The flyer indicated the walkout was encouraged by the national organization, “Rise up 4 Abortion Rights,” which called for walkouts at schools and work in protest to the leaked decision. While the flyer circulated via social media, no one in attendance at OSU was aware of the specific group that organized the walkout. 

According to OSU student Isaac Burgess, he had just been handed the flyer while in the Student Experience Center Plaza on the evening of May 4 while attending an unrelated event. 

“I think this is a really important issue because I think everyone’s body should be their own choice,” Burgess said. “Like, for me not having to deal with personally getting pregnant, I feel like I should not be the one telling someone else what they should do with that and the government shouldn’t be telling people that.” 

Kylie Lampe, a third-year student majoring in ocean science and minoring in chemistry, was in attendance and said that while she had classes and quizzes that would be missed by participating in the walkout, being there to show support was more important. 

“Clearly this is way more important to be here and to fight for women and women’s bodies and making choices for yourself and for the wellbeing of your own life,” Lampe said. 

According to Lampe, wearing green as a part of the walkout comes from pro-choice protests that occurred in Argentina and Latin America during the summer of 2018. The color has now come to symbolize women’s strength to fight for reproductive rights. 

Merrill Steketee, an OSU graduate student and former OSU employee, was also in attendance. According to Steketee, the group called out chants such as “my body my choice” and “bans off my body” while they were gathered in the MU quad and walked down Monroe Street, where she noted they also received honks and cheers in support from those passing by. 

I think it’s important for people to know that this isn’t over and there are things we can do to stop it still,” Steketee said. 

Steketee also said the group walked silently with their signs through the Valley Library on campus but were asked to leave. 

“What might be happening in class today can wait but this feels like it is more important for the grand scheme of things and I feel happy to be missing class for a good cause,” Lampe said.