JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. 一 High school students from multiple schools in Jefferson County walked out of class May 12 in support of abortion rights.
The walkouts were a response to a draft opinion, published first by Politico, from the United States Supreme Court showing that at least five of the nine justices of the court agreed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that protected a person’s right to receive an abortion. A final decision is expected to be published within the next few months.
Though the draft opinion from the court would not lead to a national abortion ban, it would open the door to individual states to restrict access to abortions. According to NPR, 21 states have laws restricting or banning abortions that could go into effect if Roe is overturned.
Students protest Supreme Court draft decision on Roe v. Wade
In Colorado, lawmakers recently passed House Bill 1279, known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which codifies abortion access.
Auggie Caudill, a Green Mountain High School student and one of the organizers for the walkouts, wants to advocate for people who do not live in Colorado and do not have abortion access.
“This is really important to everyone here with uteruses. Even though Colorado will be safe from the overturning, it’s so important that we fight for other people who are not as lucky as we are,” Auggie said.
According to Tiffany Caudill, Auggie’s parent, the idea for the walkout at Green Mountain High School began when a friend of the family was outraged at the draft opinion from the Supreme Court and wanted to plan a student walkout. They just didn’t know where to start.
Auggie, a longtime activist that has participated in both organizing and attending rallies for many years, agreed to help. They used social media and personal connections at other schools to get the word out about the walkout.
Within 48 hours, news of the walkout gained traction, and students from other schools wanted to participate.
At the same time students walked out of Green Mountain High School, a similar protest was happening near Lakewood High School. Students, organized outside Jeffco Stadium, held signs with messages like "keep your laws off my body" and "my uterus has more regulations than your guns."
According to a press release provided by Tiffany Caudill, Rachel Volek, a sophomore at Golden High School jumped at the opportunity to organize a walkout at her school.
"This is not just about women's rights," Volek said in the press release. "It is human rights. We have a responsibility to fight back, and I would do the same for any human having their rights revoked."
Caudill said students from Green Mountain High School, Golden High School, Denver School of the Arts, Arvada West High School and Wheat Ridge High School also participated in walkouts on May 12.
Theresa Ho is the RMPBS Kids digital content producer. You can reach her at email@example.com.