Students from Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School in Adams walked out in the morning with signs and more than 125 Drury High School students left class to gather in front of the school at noon.
Holding signs that said "Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights," "Don't Like Abortion, Have a Vasectomy," "Pro-Choice Does Not Mean Pro-Abortion" and "If You Can't Trust Me With A Choice Why Would You Trust Me With A Child," the students took turns expressing their frustration and anger at the decision.
"Once upon a time many years ago, people look down at us Gen Z and said, 'you are the future of America.' Yet here we stand having to fight for our damn right for bodily autonomy," said Drury student Shaleese Fisher to applause. "It's not fair, it's our lives, it's our bodies, it's our future. Let's change it for the better."
A number of students spoke out about the repercussions that could come with the overturn of the landmark case that found women had the right to an abortion. The court's finding in 1973 was based in part of the right to privacy, on which a number of other rights are based including schooling, contraception and marriage.
The majority opinion to strike down the case was leaked to the press earlier this month.
"This is a very, very dangerous precedent that this document shared, it affects almost everyone in here," said Joaquin Barnes, citing wording in the leaked opinion that could mean overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, which enshrined the right to gay marriage.
Other students pointed out it could affect access to birth control and the criminalization of abortion, contraception and medical care. That, in turn, could mean felony convictions and a loss of voting rights.
"It is important that we're all here fighting for what we believe in and being peaceful is important," said Piper Jacobs. "And it's true that this gets overturned, women will have less rights than an inanimate object and that is a problem in a country that is supposed to be free for all people."
One student argued that shotguns will have more rights than women and people with uteruses, others that they would be forced to abide by a religious decision that they didn't agree with and that it wouldn't stop abortion but rather make it unsafe.
"The fact that all of this is literally just over one thing, over one person's right to choose what they want to do with their body, not to mention that there is not a single law put in place that says that the government has the right to choose over a man's body — only over a woman's — which you can see is clearly sexist and misogynist," said one student.
Ky Hyde, who organized the walkout, led the students in 15 minutes of silence, average amount of time an abortion takes.
"It's not right. That is an attack on anyone with a uterus not just women because women are the only people who have uteruses," Hyde said. "No one should have to fight for their right to do what they want with their body. It's not anyone else's business. And if you don't want abortion simply don't have them."
Afterward, the senior said they weren't expecting as many people to talk at the event and be as respectful. Hyde was particularly taken by the attendance of some of the middle school students.
"It's a big thing and it hits home for a lot of people, they don't share that experience because hard. It's hard enough on yourself nevermind people judging you," Hyde said. "There's a stigma around it, and there shouldn't be because there's many reasons for someone to have an abortion or to take contraceptives."
The students had been warned that there would be repercussions for the walkout, said Principal Timothy Callahan, which would likely be a warning. It was a lesson in civil disobedience, he said, that there are consequences to breaking the rules to make a point.
However, he was proud of Hyde for putting the protest together and the others for participating.
"I think it shows the students exercising their 1st Amendment Rights in a respectful way so I'm proud of the way they handled it," he said.
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