Event held to mourn end of Roe v. Wade
HANOVER, N.H. — An “abortion vigil” organized by Planned Parenthood and Unitarian Universalists was hosted on the Dartmouth College Green on Sunday.
Approximately 15 people attended, including a reporter from The College Fix. Though organizers had posted flyers of the event on Dartmouth’s campus, it appeared that no students showed up.
People in the group held signs with slogans such as “Our Bodies, Our Rights,” “Reproductive Rights are Human Rights,” “Abortion Is Healthcare,” “Pro-choice and Proud,” and “Every Child, A Wanted Child.” One individual held a sign with a coat hanger drawn onto it that read “We won’t go back.”
“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Roe v. Wade, and unfortunately we don’t get to celebrate it because it’s been overturned, so we really want to make our voices heard that this is a human right,” Jan Hutslar, a Unitarian Universalist minister, told The Fix.
“This is an important issue, and it’s a faith issue, which is why I’m wearing my clerical garb. It’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue, and it’s an issue for people of faith.”
“Unitarian Universalists believe at their very foundation that every human being is worthy and should receive dignity….that also extends to the belief that every individual should have autonomy over their own decisions and their own voice,” Hutslar continued. “We also really believe in justice for everybody. When some people don’t get to make their own decisions, that’s not just. I’m from a Christian tradition, but have always been a very outspoken social justice advocate.”
The Fix asked Hutslar why organizers called the event a “vigil.”
“There’s a certain amount of loss involved,” she said. It was a moment for “acknowledging” but also “mourning” the end of Roe v. Wade, she said.
When asked whether a vigil should be held for children who were aborted, Hutslar said “every single time a woman makes a decision about whether or not to have a child, she considers that.”
“I’m not going to be the spokesperson for the unborn.”
Hutslar told The Fix that the organizers chose The Green as a location hoping to attract students to the vigil, but they did not coordinate with student groups. Hutslar also said that she was not personally aware of any groups they could have contacted.
Vigil held for ‘mourning people’s personal reproductive autonomy,’ Planned Parenthood representative said
The event was about “mourning people’s personal reproductive autonomy,” Sade Bolger, a regional public affairs organizer from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, told The Fix.
“If this day is for any group of people, it would really be the folks who are most impacted by abortion bans throughout the country,” Bolger said.
Bolger identified as a “supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and a social justice advocate” in a video posted to Facebook.
“I stand for gender equity, social justice, and self love,” Bolger stated in the video.
Some pro-life Dartmouth students did not share Hutslar and Bolger’s perspectives.
“Personally, I always find it a bit uncanny when fellow Christians use their religion to justify abortion,” a member of Students for Life Dartmouth, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Fix.
“Before I started college, I used to believe in a woman’s ‘right’ to choose (from a legal, not personal stance), but I also considered myself an agnostic,” the student continued. “Now that I’m studying to convert to Catholicism, I’m pro-life because I recognize an embryo as human life.”
Another Dartmouth student, who also asked to remain anonymous, disputed the pro-choice advocates’ claims in a statement to The Fix.
“It’s very sad when some people take strong stances on things but have a weak understanding and foundation on which they construct their opinions, especially on the basis of religion and biology,” the student said.
IMAGE: Chloe Ezzo for The College Fix