On Thursday, students at Longfellow Middle School protested a draft decision by the Supreme Court that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and end federally protected abortion rights this year.
Led by seventh-grader Jayce Cooper, a group of about 20 seventh- and eighth-graders paraded around the perimeter of the school, holding pro-choice signs and chanting slogans like, “Without this basic right, women can’t be free” and “Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.” A group of sixth-graders also staged a similar protest during their lunch period at Longfellow.
“We don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned because it would essentially allow states to completely revoke reproductive rights,” Cooper said.
Cooper, who moved to Berkeley from Florida in fall 2020, said being from a red state makes them more aware of what’s at stake with the Supreme Court’s decision. While California has strong abortion protections, Florida’s Republican legislature recently passed a bill banning abortions after 15 weeks. Politico reported that about half the states in the South and Midwest are expected to immediately instate broad bans on abortion, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
A handful of students booed the protesters and called for an abortion ban.
Science teacher Jovel Queirolo and counselor Rosina Keren also joined the students.
Cooper was inspired to protest by a national movement to protect abortion rights called Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which is planning a series of protests over the leaked Supreme Court decision on Saturday at cities across the country, including San Francisco. Cooper will give a speech at Saturday’s protest in San Francisco.