SCOTUS ‘Pissed Off The Wrong Generation’: Gen Z Activists Protest Threat To Abortion Rights
SCOTUS ‘Pissed Off the Wrong Generation’: Gen Z Activists Protest Threat to Abortion Rights
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Young people nationwide are mobilizing in support of abortion rights following the release of a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion signaling a majority of justices are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In a press release signed by various youth-led organizations, including Voters of Tomorrow, March for Our Lives, and the Sunrise Movement, the protest organizers expressed their dissatisfaction with the current Supreme Court and its failure to represent their generation and the future they envision for the country.
The leaked Supreme Court decision to revoke the fundamental right to choose for individuals capable of becoming pregnant has outraged and horrified young people.
Hundreds of youth activists gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday evening to denounce the leaked majority opinion that threatens to overturn the landmark 1973 decision safeguarding abortion rights outlined in the federal constitution. Organizers have announced plans for additional protests in cities across the country in the coming weeks.
Eve Levenson, a senior at George Washington University who hosted the rally, stated that the objective was to send a clear message to elected officials.
"It was primarily about ensuring that those in positions of power understand just how much Generation Z cares about this issue," Levenson explained in an interview with .
Generation Z is composed of individuals born between roughly 1997 and 2012, currently aged between 10 and 25. A majority of abortion patients in the country are in their twenties, with 37% aged 24 or younger.
According to estimates from organizers, nearly 1,000 young protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court. Additionally, the rally garnered 40,000 viewers on Twitter and 80,000 viewers on TikTok. Many young people who were unable to travel to the nation’s capital are now organizing their own local demonstrations, Levenson revealed.
The rally was entirely led by members of Generation Z, including numerous high school-age organizers. Following the release of the leaked draft majority opinion on May 2, the group chat among the youth organizers exploded with ideas, recalled Levenson. The suggestion of a rally outside the Supreme Court quickly gained traction, leading to its organization within a short span of time.
"We all felt an intense sense of determination," Levenson added. "Young people support bodily autonomy, access to abortion, and reproductive healthcare, and they are incredibly upset to see these rights being stripped away."
"They angered the wrong generation," exclaimed Voters of Tomorrow on social media.
Soraya Bata, a student at Georgetown University who spoke at the rally, drew attention to the trigger laws that over a dozen states have in place, designed to automatically ban abortions if Roe is overturned. In Florida, Bata’s home state, a law prohibiting medical procedures after just 15 weeks of pregnancy was passed in April, replacing a previous regulation that permitted abortions up to 24 weeks. Similar restrictions have recently been enacted in states like Oklahoma and Texas.
"At that stage, some individuals may not even be aware of their pregnancy," Bata remarked. "These laws effectively ensure that only wealthy Americans who can afford to travel out of state will have access to abortions."
Data from 2014, the most recent available, indicates that nearly half (49%) of those who had abortions were below the federal poverty line, and an additional 26% had incomes less than twice that level. This suggests that 75% of individuals seeking abortions had limited or no disposable income.
Sofia Ongele, a youth activist affiliated with Gen Z for Change, addressed the audience on Thursday and criticized the underlying argument put forth in the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion. Ongele highlighted Justice Alito’s claim that abortion is "not deeply rooted in this nation’s history and traditions" and emphasized the need to fight for a better world than what previous generations experienced, considering the history of genocide, slavery, and classism in the United States.
"Ongele emphasized the importance of having complete autonomy over her own body in order to stay alive. She believed that any infringement upon her rights would immediately jeopardize her health and safety."
"While many of the organizations involved in the rally claim to be nonpartisan, several speakers hinted at potential political consequences for officials who oppose policies aimed at protecting reproductive rights, as well as addressing issues such as climate change, LGBTQ rights, and health equity. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is seeking re-election in Georgia, attended the protest alongside the young demonstrators. The outcome of his race could determine whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate."
"Melissa Altschiller, an organizer with March for Our Lives, highlighted the fact that politicians are supposed to work for the people. If they continue to make decisions regarding individuals’ bodies, the people will in turn make decisions about their political careers."
"According to NBC’s exit polling data, approximately two-thirds of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 supported Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. This age group demonstrated an 11 percentage point lead over any other demographic. With a combined total of 65 million eligible voters from Generation Z and Millennials, who often hold similar views on social issues, there is great potential for youth mobilization in the upcoming 2022 election cycle."
"I believe that we will witness continued organization among young people on these matters in the future," said Levenson.