Hundreds of Johnson County students walk out of class in support of abortion rights

·2 min read

Around 200 Blue Valley North High School students walked out of class on Thursday to protest the recently leaked Supreme Court draft decision on Roe v. Wade that could strip away the federal right to abortion.

The student-led protest gathered in front of the school to hear remarks from Kansas State Sen. Cindy Holscher. Student leaders from the group Students of Action read prepared speeches, passed out homemade pamphlets and distributed protest signs and water to their classmates.

The materials listed ways students could get involved in protecting abortion access, from phone banking for candidates that support abortion rights to donating to abortion funds in the area.

“Fundamentally, what we’re trying to do is get as many people involved as possible,” said senior Saihaj Parmar, one of the protest’s organizers. He added that students at a Missouri high school have contacted his group for advice on planning their own demonstration around reproductive rights.

Kansas State Senator Cindy Holscher, right, speaks to around 200 Blue Valley North High School students at a walkout protest over Roe v. Wade on Thursday, May 12.
Kansas State Senator Cindy Holscher, right, speaks to around 200 Blue Valley North High School students at a walkout protest over Roe v. Wade on Thursday, May 12.

“To see that this (protest) is having a genuine impact, rather than just being a thing we do for ourselves, is inspiring,” Parmar said.

“I think our generation is more active, we’re more riled up… because things are getting worse across the board in terms of racial issues and bodily autonomy,” said senior Ephren Taylor, another student organizer.

In her speech, state Sen. Cindy Holscher emphasized the importance of political engagement among students and encouraged those 18 and over to vote in Kansas’ upcoming elections.

“Right now we are controlled by extremist[s],” she told the crowd. “That’s a fringe group that basically is making a lot of decisions that impact you… we need good, reasonable people to go fix that.”

Kansans will vote on whether to remove the right to abortion from the state’s constitution in the primary elections on August 2.

Blue Valley North High School student Zenyth Capitman poses with a sign opposing Kansas’ upcoming ballot initiative that would remove the right to abortion from the state’s constitution. Capitman helped organize a walkout protest at the school on Thursday, May 12.
Blue Valley North High School student Zenyth Capitman poses with a sign opposing Kansas’ upcoming ballot initiative that would remove the right to abortion from the state’s constitution. Capitman helped organize a walkout protest at the school on Thursday, May 12.

“The legislature that we have in place is enacting laws, and putting forward amendments and bills, that don’t match up with the general population,” Holscher told The Star after the event.

A Washington Post and ABC News poll conducted last week found that 54% of Americans think Roe v. Wade should be upheld, while only 28% think it should be overturned. The remaining 18% of the population did not offer an opinion on the issue.

A reversal of Roe v. Wade is expected to have even more immediate impacts in Missouri, where a “trigger ban” law will likely go into effect as soon as the ruling is nullified.

Blue Valley North High School students hold signs supporting reproductive rights during a walkout protest on Thursday, May 12.
Blue Valley North High School students hold signs supporting reproductive rights during a walkout protest on Thursday, May 12.

Do you have more questions about student activism in the Kansas City area? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.

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