Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which rolled back federal abortion access protection nationwide, college students across the country have aparticipated in political protests, signed petitions or used their platforms to express their opinions on the issue.
Regardless of whether individuals found themselves mourning or celebrating the decision, many Americans found themselves experiencing a renewed sense of political activism.
Grand Valley State University student groups for and against abortion rights are no exception. While the university hasn’t released an official position on the issue, that hasn’t stopped groups on campus from advocating for both sides of the issue.
The Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) at GVSU made its position on the matter clear in the wake of the ruling.
“As a result of this decision, the Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) stands with the GVSU community during this difficult time and offers additional information,” the CWGE wrote on its website. . “Our office will always be a safe space where students, staff, faculty and the community can be heard and supported. Please contact our center for assistance if you need it during this time.
Leah Short, Acting Associate Director and Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator for the CWGE, shared that one of the efforts to support students after the overthrow of Roe V. Wade included running a treatment center.
“We kept treatment space for a week after the reversal was announced,” Short said. “We partner with the LGBT resource center (on campus), so there were a lot of solidarity messages going on, kind of like, ‘How can we help you? So we decided to create a treatment space, where people can just walk into the space and feel heard and supported.
Short also serves as a staff advisor for the Students for Choice organization on campus and is trying to lead the group in advocating for people from all walks of life this fall.
“This is about health care, and it’s not just a cis person’s issue,” Short said. “It affects trans people a lot, especially when you think about trans men. When we forget people or exclude them from our dialogue, it creates more division. We are so much more powerful when we work together.
The Center for Women and Gender Equity shares that students who want to get involved in abortion rights initiatives should consider joining GVSU’s Students for Choice organization.
On the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, GVSU’s Protect Life is also working on its own plans for the fall. Previously, the group had attended protests in Washington, held question-and-answer sessions and participated in activism summits in an effort to engage in anti-abortion dialogue.
Protect Life at GVSU has since taken to social media to share its opinion.
“The annulment of Roe v. Wade made the decision of legality back to the states, but that just means everything we do has an absolute direct impact on what happens with abortion laws in the future,” the band wrote on Instagram.
Protect Life at GVSU has sought to share methods for students to engage with anti-abortion messaging, with a focus on ongoing efforts such as court cases and statewide ballot initiatives aimed at ensuring the pursuit of the legalization of abortion.
“The Planned Parenthood ballot initiative is still very real and very immediate,” the group wrote on Instagram. “Contact us directly or Protect Life Michigan to become a recruiter/solicitor because we are making abortion not only illegal, but unnecessary.”
The abortion rights debate has already sparked controversy within the campus community in previous years.
Less than a year ago, unrest broke out among passers-by as anti-abortion affiliates gathered at GVSU’s designated free-speech zone outside the Cook Carillon Tower in response to a recent Texas abortion bill.
As the abortion debate has remained lingering within the GVSU community, the argument is likely to continue as amplified arguments from either side attempt to sway Michigan’s uncertain outcome as the l one of the last fronts in the national battle over the right to abortion.