DuPage Area Activists React To Pending Roe v. Wade Reversal

The Roe v. Wade draft opinion leak caused an uproar. Members of the COD community, from political science professors to pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion activists spoke on the hot topic.


Graphic by Zainab Imam

An opinion that leaked on Monday May 2 revealed a pending SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Devin Oommen, Staff Writer

Talks of broken institutions, government involvement in womens’ ability to choose, and conversations about when a fetus is considered a human life gripped the country after a draft Supreme Court opinion circulated on May 2 revealing that the Supreme Court may overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent that made abortions a federally protected right in 1973.

Melissa Mouritsen, a political science professor at College of DuPage, said the decision comes from justices who are not representative of the American people.

“Five of the nine justices that are on the bench right now were appointed by presidents who were put in office by the Electoral College, who were elected not by the popular vote (but) by George W. Bush and by Donald Trump,” said Mouritsen. “We have a majority of the Supreme Court who is going to make this decision to overturn Roe who wasn’t even selected by the majority of the American people.”

Mouritsen said it is time for Congress to enact a law that protects reproductive rights the same way the Roe decision does.

“I agree with that decision that it needs to be up to the legislature. The Founding Fathers meant for the legislature to be the ones who do these sorts of things, and so they should,” said Mouritsen. “They need to pass a law that makes it legal, does the things that the court decision did and stop relying on the court.”

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advocates for various policy issues. The past chair of public policy for AAUW, Shoshana Frank found the language in the leaked opinion distressing.

“So often abortions are honestly not a choice. They’re a medical necessity,” said Frank. “The decision is a health related decision that the government should not be involved in. It’s something between the person who is pregnant and their health care provider. End of story. 

“Often people who are seeking this type of medical help don’t necessarily have the funds or even their own health care, or even if they have health care coverage, doesn’t necessarily mean that this type of procedure would be covered under their plan,” said Frank. “Taking away these rights is an effort to control the bodies of women and people who can get pregnant and limit access to vital health care, and this is especially for those who are black, brown, LGBTQIA+ or living in poverty. 

Frank said AAUW created a toolkit for people who are looking for ways to take action.

“If people are looking to act or unsure how they can have their voices heard, urging their senators to support the Women’s Health Protection Act is a vital next step,” Frank continued. “You can also write letters to the editor, engage in community forums, talk to your elected officials.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act on Wednesday.

Frank said part of the solution is increasing  the level of comfort people feel around sharing their experiences and having real conversations about reproductive health. She encourages college students to engage in those conversations with friends, family and on social media. 

“The other really big important aspect for abortion access and reproductive justice as a whole is destigmatizing the issue,” Frank said.“A big way too to reduce the stigmatization around what is ultimately a health care decision is to talk about it publicly. Until we’re able to have those types of conversations on a casual level and with our friends and family in a comfortable way we’re going to continue to have these types of healthcare attacks in the future.”

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the group Pro Life Action League said this issue should be decided by state legislatures.

“(Supreme Court Justice) Samuel Alito has laid out a profoundly convincing argument that Roe was badly, clumsily and almost incompetently decided in the first place. When Alito says there’s no constitutional right to abortion, he’s not saying there’s no right to abortion,” Scheidler said.

Scheidler said this issue makes many people, including himself, single-issue voters. 

“If this is the ruling we get, the elected representatives in your state can enact policies, statutes that reflect the desires of the people of that state when it comes to the issue of abortion. It’s a win for democracy. Both pro-life and pro-choice have said Roe v. Wade reads more like a Congressional act than it does a judicial ruling. Let’s legislate this rather than have it be dictated from the Supreme Court. I think that’s going to be very good for our politics overall going forward to not have this issue creating so much polarization, ” said Scheidler.

“I don’t want to give the impression that I’m just dandy with any abortion policy, provided that it’s determined by some process of democracy, but it’s far better than having it handed down by the authority of a court. I want to have a chance to fight for good pro-life laws across the country, and that’s what the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling allows us to do,” said Scheidler.

“Let’s remove those barriers to people having the freedom of choice that they really want. To have another child, to have more flexibility in the workplace, to have parental leave, to have decent health care so that doesn’t become a reason to abort a baby or to suffer at all. I don’t know what the answers are when it comes to policy and how we actually implement this stuff, but I want to be having those kinds of conversations,” said Scheidler.

A number of states have trigger laws that are expected to become effective with other states expected to increase restrictions. States like Illinois are safe haven states that are expecting an increase in medical tourism.

Maureen Brocks-Hussain, a family planning clinician with Planned Parenthood of IL says they are prepared for an increase in patients. 

“At Planned Parenthood of Illinois we are prepared to see between anywhere from double to five times the number of patients we currently see, many of whom are going to be traveling from other states where there will be abortion restrictions or bans,“ said Brocks-Hussain.

“This is not a surprise, and as a result the organization has been taking steps to meet this anticipated surge in abortion patients.”

Those who want to become more involved in this issue can reach out to their elected representatives at the local, state, and federal levels. 

Those who are pro choice and want to become involved or donate to groups that are associated to that stance can give to the Chicago Abortion Fund, or Planned Parenthood. 

Those who are pro-life and want to become or donate to groups that are associated to that stance can give to the Waterleaf Womens Center or the Caring Network.


Bonus video: Interview with Radical Women activist Mary Ann Curtis: