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SWAG hosts discussion to process leaked Roe v. Wade draft

May 13, 2022

In response to recent news about the potential reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Sexuality, Women and Gender (SWAG) center hosted a discussion entitled “Processing the Leaked Roe v. Wade Draft.” The discussion hosted at 24 College served as a space for students to find community, share their thoughts on the leaked draft and become energized for more advocacy work.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would mean state intervention in access to abortion. Every state’s policy surrounding abortion is different, meaning that while some states could move for a total ban on abortion access, others could move to preserve abortion rights.

Students in attendance from states that currently have unrestricted access to abortion, like Luisa Wolcott-Breen ’25, who is from California, found the news to be particularly shocking.

“I feel like my rights to abortion and the [reproductive] rights of those around me [have] always been guaranteed,” Wolcott-Breen said. “[It’s] really scary for me to think about all the people who are going to suffer because of this, because [abortions are] just no longer going to be accessible.”

Prior to the discussion, Wolcott-Breen said she had a difficult time discussing the implications of the leaked draft. She felt that she needed time to reflect on her own reactions instead of diving headfirst into discussion.
After participating in the discussion hosted by the SWAG center, Wolcott-Breen found a sense of community in the midst of uncertainty.

“Going to this community discussion, I don’t think my perspective [about the draft] shifted as much, but I just felt very connected to everyone who was there,” Wolcott-Breen said. “I was just really grateful for that space, because [it] helped me a lot in terms of hearing how other people were feeling and knowing that I wasn’t alone in my emotions.”

Kaitlin Weiss ’25 echoed similar sentiments, and said the discussion broadened her perspective on issues relating to reproductive justice.

“I’ve been speaking with people who I haven’t really been in conversation with before and [by] getting to hear their own experiences [with Roe] … I learned a lot about other people’s fears [about the draft] and backgrounds in relation to reproductive justice,” Weiss said. “That was incredibly valuable.”

Both Weiss and Wolcott-Breen hope to further engage with SWAG as they become more involved in reproductive justice advocacy. The two, along with fellow Bowdoin students, have begun organizing efforts in the Portland metro area to rally support for reproductive justice.

“Myself and a bunch of people are going to Portland on Saturday [to help] Planned Parenthood canvas for their national day of action and then there’s a ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ rally happening in Brunswick on Sunday,” Weiss said.

Wolcott-Breen feels that the discussion was a great first step in bringing reproductive advocacy to campus and hopes to build relationships with people she has met at previous events hosted by SWAG.

“I helped plan the denim day tabling fair which was cool, because I got to reach out to a bunch of [reproductive justice] organizations and help bring them to campus. [I got] to know amazing advocates in the state of Maine for reproductive justice and consent culture, which was a really incredible experience,” Wolcott-Breen said.

The discussion worked to facilitate conversation and encourage advocacy, as in the case of Weiss and Wolcott-Breen.

“Leaving that discussion, I felt very inspired to get involved [in reproductive justice advocacy] in as many ways as I can,” Weiss said.

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