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Protesters gather in support and against potential overturn of Roe vs. Wade

Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
A pro-choice rally on the Green at UD was organized on Thursday afternoon.

Pro-choice and pro-life activists gathered at the University of Delaware Thursday - reacting to the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicated the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. And this week a bill to codify the rights protected by Roe failed to pass in the U.S. Senate.

One protest at Memorial Hall was organized by Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UD. The organization's secretary, and UD junior, Audrey Keen, is a fierce supporter of abortion rights after she said she nearly lost a friend to an ectopic pregnancy. She notes the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries.

“That is just one of the thousands of reasons that we need abortion, to keep people alive like that," Keen said. "Unsafe abortion kills mothers. It’s an epidemic in this country really.”

UD sophomore Rachel Brywka helped organize the pro-life event- and was with her eight-month old baby girl.

"I know one big topic is what happens with sexual assault and what happens with rape. But saying that people who do get raped and end up pregnant should get an abortion, puts all those children that were born from rape into a category of not being worthy of life.”

Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
Pro-life activists on the southside of Memorial Hall numbered less than 50.

UD political communications professor Lindsay Hoffman came to observe and says she saw a mirror of her classroom.

“It demonstrated that there is so much more to this than pro-life, pro-choice," Hoffman said. "There is a lot of nuance and a lot of gray area and I think the students want to explore those ideas and they want to examine these things with more detail than just on its face value.”

William Hamant, Director of Campus Ministry at the Saint Thomas More Oratory, stood with pro-life activists on the south-side, hoping to have conversations with passerby's.

“The important thing is that people understand that the things that they value, a lot of times we also value," Hamont said. "One woman that I was just talking to said she believes in abortion because she doesn't think that mothers have the resources that they should have to take care of children. And I said, ‘you know what, that’s actually a really legitimate concern’ and something that I also totally affirm.”

But UD senior Clare Rayburn says she isn’t interested in debating her rights.

“I wish that my body wasn’t a war ground," Rayburn said. "I think it’s unfair and disrespectful that I have to fight for this basic right but I will keep fighting for it and I’m not going to stop and I know we aren’t going to stop.”

Both sides provided resources like safe sex education from Planned Parenthood and adoption resources from pro-life activists.

The crowd of pro-choice protesters started around 200 and grew. Pro-life activists numbered less than 50.