Campus Testimonials: Penn State Students React to the Overturning of Roe V. Wade

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On June 24th, the U.S Supreme Court announced their decision to overturn Roe Vs Wade. As a college magazine, we feel it is imperative to share the stories, testimonials and opinions of the people this decision will directly affect. Our grandparent, parents, brothers and sisters have all had access to abortion. Now, in the year 2022, we will be the first generation of young people in almost 50 years to live without access to SAFE, legal abortion. We are merely hosts in the chain of reproduction.  Women across the country now carry the burden of knowing that their future, health and safety are no longer in their own hands. We now know, more clearly than ever before, that we are nothing in the eyes of the United States Government. We know that they do not care about us. Here’s what we want them to know.

Student #1

What does it mean to be a woman in America? What does it mean to be made to feel small and helpless in the face of a glaringly patriarchal government? A government in which we preach the sanctity of the separation of church and state, a blatant lie that we have convinced ourselves we live in. A government in which we pride ourselves on the so-called genius and success of the democratic experiment. It means that we stand for a law that was written as a means of protection during the revolutionary war- the right to bear arms against British soldiers in a time in which those very guns are able to end the lives we so desperately force to be born. It means that we are so fixated on this perfected image of America that our founding fathers created that we feel as though it would be a shame to them and the Christian country they created to stray from their beliefs as a means of progressing as a country. 

To be a woman in modern America means you are less than human in the eyes of the Supreme Court. You are less than the man that got you pregnant because he “hates wearing condoms.” You are less than the hours and miles and dollars that it takes to drive across state borders in order to get an abortion, but more importantly, to do so in a safe manner. This is the reality of being a woman in America, a country that revels so much in the instigation of war that it would wage one against its own citizens. 

To be a woman in America means that the next time you want to satisfy your innate human urges, the same ones shared by men, that you are criminalized for it. Moreover, you are criminalized for every single thing that comes after. What are we supposed to do when contraception becomes illegal? What are we supposed to do when our period is late after that hookup we would later come to regret? What are we supposed to do when we want to stand up for our amazing bodies that are now seen as birthing machines? What are we supposed to do? 

Student #3

This feeling of helplessness is what it’s like to be a woman in America. This feeling of helplessness is the reality of America, the failed democratic experiment. An experiment in which our pride as a predominantly Christian country has infiltrated the very chambers of our highest court. Now, this is not an attack on Christianity. This is, however, an attack on the freedom of religious expression that disguises such heinous and anarchical decisions such as those conducted on June 24th by Justices Coney-Barrett and Thomas, among others.

To be a woman in America is to feel all these feelings and anxieties and confusion, to the point that we are numb to the injustices acted upon us by the government sworn to protect us by precedent. “God bless the USA.”

Student #2

38 days ago, I was raped. After the fact, my period came late, which led me to believe that I was pregnant with my rapist’s child. Imagine, in an alternate reality, this was what happened. How could I bear the thought of keeping this child? Suffering through the pains of being pregnant for a baby I never asked for or wanted. I am only 21 years old, what type of life could I offer this child? How could I love it, and what would I tell them when they asked who their father was? 

Student # 3

There are few words that have the capability to express the defeat and anger that is currently being felt by women around the country this week, following the overturning of Roe v Wade. Luckily, we have sensible and educated women like Michelle Obama who, even when there are no words, manage to find the ones that translate this feeling best. 

Michelle Obama took to Instagram, where she posted a three-slide statement where she shared her heartbreak for the many different kinds of women and girls that this decision will affect. She mentioned a particular woman in this slide-show, the “teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won’t be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state controls her reproductive decisions.” The girl she describes here… is us.

 Students at Penn State and other colleges around the country will be directly impacted by this ignorant and harmful decision. We had the choice of where we wanted to continue our education, our choice of what we wanted to study and how we want our future to play out. This is the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that we were promised at birth, now that promise is being stripped away. There is power in choice, in knowing your options and understanding the outcomes. Choice is a basic right, so is healthcare and privacy and respect. This decision negates that.

Student #4

Penn State has denied women access to abortion for years, so their silence since Fridays ruling is certainly not surprising. State College is first and foremost a college town. As such, it should be expected that unplanned pregnancies are going to occur. But Penn State and the city of state college deemed abortion clinics too controversial. ​​State College Medical Services which provided students with access to safe abortions closed its doors in 2007. University Health Services does not perform abortions. Since then, Penn State students have been. Not only are we tasked with traveling to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, but to do so at our own expense, while trying our best to navigate the pressures and stress of staying afloat in our education. 

Now the options for students at this school are shrinking even more. As half of this country plans to ban abortions alltogether, female students can’t rely on their hometowns and states. They can’t afford to wait two weeks until break to travel home (as most women won’t even realize they are pregnant until after four)  .The burden has always been placed on women to “figure it out” and Penn State is all too happy to continue pushing that narrative on its female students. Now more than ever before, the female students on this campus deserve a place to turn to. They deserve to be able to prioritize their education like their male counterparts, and they deserve the right to get an abortion if they so choose.  I am sad, I am disgusted, and I am afraid. As a campus with increasingly high numbers of assaults and rapes, I cannot fathom how this has gone on so long. Come fall, a lack of action and access could cost students everything. Penn State, do better.

Student #5

As a woman, hearing the news about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade took my breath away, and not in a good way. I was sitting at my internship when I heard the news, and I cannot tell you how many people gasped at the TV, shocked at not only the political aspect of the court overturning of 50 years of precedent, but also of the emotional aspect of the realization that women’s rights were being taken away right in front of our eyes. What made the whole thing even worse is that this decision came out a day after a Supreme Court ruling that unregulated guns. Yeah, you’re reading that right; the Supreme Court protects guns more than women. 

Personally, I have always believed in a woman’s right to choose what to do in her own body, and I don’t believe that a room full of men, whether that be Congress or the Supreme Court, should have a final say in those decisions. Choosing to overturn 50 years of precedent and take away women’s rights is something that I never believed would actually happen, and I’m extremely disappointed and angry about the entire situation. Outlawing abortion doesn’t get rid of abortions; it simply makes it more dangerous. While I respect people who are pro-life and who don’t support abortions, I don’t think it’s fair for them to impose their views on everyone else. You never know what kind of situation someone is in or why they decide to make the incredibly difficult decision to have an abortion. It’s not right that women shouldn’t at least have the option if they feel like it’s the best thing they can do for themselves, their families or their unborn child. Women should have the right to decide their own futures, and the government shouldn’t make that extremely important decision for them

Student #6

My whole life I felt that I always had to prove that I was just as good as any man. Growing up as women in a world that enforces the idea that we are inferior is disgusting. It’s disheartening to see that women not only have to fight against men that believe this, but also that our own private lives should be controlled. A woman’s choice to not have a child should be an individual. Religion aside, no one should dictate another’s life, if you don’t believe in it, you can choose to not have one. As it should be clear, overturning Roe v Wade will not stop abortions, it will only stop safe abortions.

It feels that women are being punished for being sexually active, even though in the same society men are praised. Women are believed to want to have children and raise them as if it’s in our blood. But that was before, women were educated and given freedoms outside of their husbands. I think society forgets that women not only have to grow the baby inside of them for 9 months but then raise and care for it the rest of their lives. Men aren’t given these same responsibilities. In fact, some people aren’t meant to be parents, and forcing someone to be one will not change that. This leaves children neglected and mistreated. But we see no work being done to care for children in foster homes or bad living situations.

Being adopted, I know that the people who raised me wanted me. But, also with that I understand that my biological mother made her choice. I don’t know why she made it, but she was lucky enough to have been able to make her own. There are already plenty of children in foster homes that deserve safe homes and parents that love them.

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