GV prepares for post-Roe return to campus


GVL / Meghan Tripp (Landgren)

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned the federal protection of nationwide abortion access college students across the country have attended political demonstrations, signed petitions or used their platforms to voice their opinions regarding the matter. 

Regardless of whether individuals found themselves mourning or celebrating the decision, many Americans found themselves experiencing a renewed sense of political activism. 

Grand Valley State University’s student groups in support of and against abortion rights are no exception. Although the university has not released an official position on the matter, this has not stopped groups on campus from advocating for either side of the issue. 

GVSU’s Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE), made clear their position on the matter following the ruling.

“In the wake of this decision, the Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) stands with the GVSU community during this challenging time and offers additional information,” CWGE wrote on their website. “Our office will always be a safe space for students, staff, faculty and the community to be heard and supported. Please reach out to our center for support should you need it during this time.”

Leah Short, the Interim Associate Director and Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator of the CWGE, shared that one of the efforts to support students after the overturning of Roe V. Wade included holding a processing center. 

“We did hold a processing space a week after the overturning was announced,” Short said. “We partner with the LGBT resource center (on campus), so there was a lot of solidarity messaging going on, kind of like, ‘How can we help you?’ So, we decided to do a processing space, where people can just come into the space and feel heard and supported.” 

Short also acts as the staff advisor for the Students for Choice organization on campus, and is attempting to direct the group to advocate for individuals from all walks of life this fall. 

“This is healthcare, and this is not just a cis person’s issue,” Short said. “This very much affects trans people, especially when we think of trans men. When we forget about people, or exclude them from our dialogue, it creates more division. We are so much more powerful when we work together.”

The Center for Women and Gender Equity shares that students looking to get involved in abortion rights initiatives should look into joining GVSU’s Students for Choice organization. 

On the opposing side of the ideological spectrum, Protect Life at GVSU is also working on their own plans for the fall. Previously, the group attended demonstrations in Washington, held question-and-answer sessions and attended activism summits with the goal of engaging in anti-abortion dialogue. 

Protect Life at GVSU has since taken to social media to share their opinion.

Overturning Roe v. Wade has given the legality decision back to the states, but that simply means that everything we do has an absolute direct impact on what happens with abortion laws going forward,” the group wrote on Instagram.

Protect Life at GVSU has sought to share methods for students aligned with anti-abortion messaging to get involved such as emphasizing continued efforts like court cases and ballot initiatives in the state aimed at ensuring the continued legalization of abortion. 

Planned Parenthood’s ballot initiative is still very real and very immediate,” the group wrote on Instagram. “Contact us directly or Protect Life Michigan to become a recruiter/canvasser as we make abortion not only illegal, but unnecessary.”

The debate over abortion rights has been one that has already caused controversy among the campus community in previous years. 

Less than a year ago, turmoil was sparked between bystanders as anti-abortion affiliates rallied at GVSU’s designated free speech area in front of the Cook Carillon Tower in response to a recent Texas abortion bill. 

As the abortion debate has remained persistent among the GVSU community, the argument is likely to continue as amplified arguments from either side attempt to influence Michigan’s uncertain outcome as one of the latest fronts in the national battle over abortion rights.