ELLSWORTH — Dozens of Ellsworth High School students held a walkout this week to voice their support for women’s reproductive rights.
Participants held signs and chanted “My body, my choice” and “women’s rights are human rights” as they marched around the bus loop Monday morning during their focused learning period.
The students leading the effort said the protest was in response to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion signaling the court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established the right to abortion.
“Creating noise is just the thing that we’re trying to do,” said Savannah Hasham, one of the organizers. “The more noise we can create, the more we can show it’s not just the voices of those Supreme Court justices that matter.”
“Disruption is key,” echoed fellow organizer Amber-Rae Pesek. “Even though we’re a small school in Maine we can still make our voices heard and stand up for our rights.”
Principal Dan Clifford, who came out to observe the march, said he was impressed by the students’ level of maturity.
“It was completely student-generated,” Clifford said. “They came to me with the idea to do this during their focused learning period. They were mature about it, and they did it the right way.”
This walkout came on the heels of a weekend that saw “Bans Off My Body” protests pop up all over the nation, with thousands taking to the streets in cities such as New York and Washington, D.C., to oppose the court’s apparent decision. Smaller groups also came out to counter-protest in support of it.
While the group at EHS was much smaller in scale, organizers were still very impressed with the turnout.
“It started out as a group of seven, but in one focused learning period we got a lot more people to join,” Hasham said. “We put it out on social media and that also brought a lot of people.”
While the group has no immediate plans to follow up the walkout, the level of participation encouraged them to continue the movement.
“There are definitely going to be more events,” Pesek stated. “Hopefully we can get other schools involved as well.”
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its actual decision on Roe v. Wade at some point this summer.