By Kaitlin Bavaro
The Bans Off Our Bodies campaign will be hosting a rally at the lawn in front of Trenton Hall to protest against the recent overturning of Roe V. Wade and the Planned Parenthood V. Casey case.
The rally, which was going to initially take place Sept. 10, has since been postponed with no new official date yet, due to “issues raised that would potentially cause bigger issues,” according to the organization’s instagram (@bansoff.tcnj).
“The rally was postponed due to some unforeseen circumstances in regards to finances,” said founder of Bans Off Our Bodies junior criminology major Jess Mirkin. “The rally is going to take place next month but we are unsure of what day that will be for now. The rally is not canceled, it will not be, but rather postponed for now.”
During the event, there will be speakers from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, as well as students from the College. Other student bodies from campuses including Rutgers University and Montclair University have been invited to attend as well.
All of the proceeds that the organization raises will be donated to pro-choice organizations in states with trigger laws looking to ban abortions.
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor of Dobbs in regards to the case Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which in turn overturned Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood V. Casey: two cases which granted reproductive rights through the constitution, including the right to privacy and abortion, for any citizen with a uterus.
This controversial overturning gives power to the individual states to create their own laws in regards to reproductive rights, causing millions of citizens to lose their once protected rights.
Since then, millions of Americans have protested against this overturning by donating to pro-choice organizations, as well as attending protests and rallies.
“It's shocking that in 2022, we have to continue to fight, scream and cry out for politicians to recognize that our bodies should belong exclusively to ourselves,” said senior international studies and political science major Jenna Azeez. “As far as I'm concerned, no one should be forced to subject their body to anything, regardless of what ‘potential’ the fetus may have."
Mirkin began the idea of planning a rally at the College and has since collaborated with other College students to make this protest a reality.
“I knew that [starting a rally] was a long shot and could be very challenging,” said Mirkin during an interview with Lions TV. “I used the few resources I had: Groupme, social media and a few friends, and I was able to get hundreds of people to reach out to join, including some co-sponsorships.”
Mirkin was shocked at the amount of people who were interested in the organization and the rally. She said she was compelled to plan the rally to act somehow “even on the smallest of scales.”
“The students who choose to speak [at the rally] aren’t gaining anything. They are speaking from the heart,” said Mirkin. “We want to uplift their voices because it can be so powerful.”
Mirkin also intends on using her platform to educate her fellow students on reproductive rights and issues.
Other members of The College’s Bans Off Our Bodies include graduate student and the Committee Liaison and Day of Operations Chair Brittany Kroeckel, junior criminology major and Social Media Chair Natalie Botello, junior history and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major Diamond Urey who is the publicity and outreach chair, junior criminology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major Delia Mischel who is the editorial chair, junior graphic design and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major Cler Cezar who is the fundraising chair, as well as several other students.
Although the College and the state of New Jersey is not directly affected by the outcome of Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, many students, like Maddie Campbell, a sophomore women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and urban education major, still feel passionate about this cause.
“Even in a so called ‘safe state’ in terms of access to abortion,” said Campbell, “we still have to continue to fight for our rights.”