Draft Ruling Fuels BLS Abortion Activism


BLS students protest at the reproductive rights rally. (Source: Mary Bosch (II))

Whether it be through protest marches, poems or presentations, the recent leaking of the Supreme Court draft opinion in favor of overruling Roe v. Wade has sparked conversation at Boston Latin School regarding reproductive rights.

Decided on January 22, 1973 by a 7-2 vote, Roe v. Wade is the landmark case that constitutionally legalized abortion rights within the United States. A Supreme Court draft anonymously leaked to Politico,  however, has revealed that a group of justices are planning to strike down both Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, pivotal cases protecting the right to abortion.

Massachusetts is one of 16 states that will preserve the right to abortions if these decisions are struck down. Although the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973 has allowed the practice of legal abortion across the entire country, if the case were to be overruled, countless states would re-establish laws strictly regulating or even banning abortions entirely.

In response, people across the nation have risen up in outcry. On May 15, thousands of protesters gathered in the Boston Common to convey their unity for the right to an abortion. About 60 BLS students were in attendance, joining the numbers representing Boston. An event took place prior to the rally for students to gather and create signs for the event.

Islay Shilland (IV) remarks, “My motivation to attend the rally did not come entirely from a fear of [losing] my rights to abortion, but rather for those of the people living in places where their bodily autonomy is being taken from them.”

Just three miles away from where the protest was held, students responded to the endangerment of reproductive rights by educating others on school grounds.

On May 13, the Topol Fellows for Peace and Nonviolence, Ladies’ Collective and FemInSTEM hosted their Spoken Word Roe v. Wade Event in the library.

Teachers brought their students to listen to members of the hosting clubs and public declaimers recite written sentiments of those who had experiences with abortion, alongside documentaries showcasing the experience.

Speakers chose pieces that they found most intriguing to them. Selections came from all over the world and were approved by Head of School Rachel Skerritt alongside the hosting clubs. Manasvi Chilakapati (I) recited Leyla Josephine’s “I Think She Was a She,” regarding Josephine’s decision to have an abortion as a teenager.

In response to arguments made by the pro-life movement, Chilakapati expresses, “Rather than focusing on a literal clump of cells leeching resources off of another person’s body, we should instead focus on the actual children that are in abusive and horrible situations like foster care. […] We have a lot of people in need that are actual people. We should focus on them instead of being self-righteous about saving potential life and focus on actual lives.”

To spread awareness of this risk to bodily autonomy, Julie-Anna Murphy, a Planned Parenthood patient advocate based in New Orleans, recommends visiting the Planned Parenthood website. It is equipped with comprehensive resources regarding sex education, sexuality, one’s legal rights and the importance of consent.

Expressing a similar sentiment to Chilakapati, Murphy says the government should shift its focus onto living people that need access to reproductive healthcare. She mentions how Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a fighting woman that empowers many others and how the Supreme Court needs more diversity.

 “This year is the 50-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. 50 years, and this is what we’re doing. This is what we’re doing. We might not have it anymore. I was not surprised at all, unfortunately,” says Murphy.