Hundreds of protestors gathered on Sproul Plaza on Wednesday following news of the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to an abortion.
The news came from the publication of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion from Politico revealing that the majority of the court’s justices are prepared to vote to overturn the historic decision.
“I was in shock,” said UC Berkeley senior Danielle Roseman. “Abortion is a personal decision and the government should not be deciding what people can do with their own bodies.”
Roseman said she, along with campus sophomore Alisa Steel, organized the protest.
Roseman added that the number of people who showed up surpassed her expectations.
“Seeing all of these people come out today was beautiful,” Roseman said. “It brought tears to my eyes seeing people of all different backgrounds and ages.”
At around 4 p.m., students began speaking on the steps of Sproul Hall. Students also chanted “Our body, our choice!” and “Ho ho, hey hey, Roe v. Wade is here to stay!”
Annie Alcott, a campus alumna, claimed that opponents of Roe v. Wade had been organizing since the day Roe v. Wade passed 50 years ago.
“My sign is a pie chart,” Alcott said about her sign. “It says ‘Reasons why women have abortions’: The largest part in blue says ‘personal choice’. The red says ‘mind your business.’ The orange says ‘not your concern’. And the green says ‘fuck off.’ ”
Campus freshman Alexandra Masci said that she was disappointed by the court’s opinion and that people deserve to have bodily autonomy.
Masci added that progress is not guaranteed and that people should put pressure on elected officials to ensure access to safe abortions.
“Banning abortion does not get rid of them but just makes them unsafe for all people,” Masci said. “I encourage people to go out and get educated on this topic and support local abortion clinics.”
Campus freshman David Gonzales said he enjoyed the protest and that it was “eye-opening” to see both women and men supporting abortion.
Gonzales said that he’s “terrified” of the power that the court has on the issue.
“The front side says ‘Against abortion? Get a vasectomy,’ ” Gonzales said about his sign. “The back says ‘He who hath not a uterus shall shutteth the fuck up. Fallopians 13:13.’ ”
Campus alumna Grita Kamin said she had an abortion in 1972 and has never regretted it. She emphasized that she got an abortion during a time when finances were difficult.
Campus alumnus Allen Kamin expressed disbelief toward the court opinion, claiming that the opinion “endangers” other civil rights such as same-sex marriage and the right to contraception. Kamin also expressed his approval of the protest.
“It’s absolutely great,” Kamin said. “It reminds me of what the Berkeley campus should be about. Free speech and standing up for who you are and what you believe in.”