The right to choose

Progressive Club and Green Team organize pro-choice walkout

Bonita+Vista+High+%28BVH%29+students+gather+on+Nov.+19+during+fifth+period+at+a+pro-choice+walkout.+Several+students+stood+on+the+podium+to+deliver+their+speeches+about+abortion+laws+and+rights.

Gabriella Bomjardim

Bonita Vista High (BVH) students gather on Nov. 19 during fifth period at a pro-choice walkout. Several students stood on the podium to deliver their speeches about abortion laws and rights.

Nadia Martinez, Podcast Manager

There was a large crowd that was vibrating with student support. This was the atmosphere on November 19th at the protest on reproductive rights. The protest was hosted by the Progressive Club and Green Team and held at Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) soccer field. 

“I’m pleasantly surprised because I’m so glad that so many people came out to support this [protest],” attendee and junior Sophia Morgan said.

The groups had many staff supporters such as Progressive Club Advisor Don Dumas, and the Green Team Advisor Jennifer Ekstein. Progressive Club President and junior Lannah Garcia emailed both BVH Principal Roman  Del Rosario Ed.D. and the Sweetwater Union High District Superintendent in order to receive permission and approval to hold the protest. 

“The [administration] were really supportive of [the protest] because they really do support the students’ right to free speech and to speak their mind on their own opinions, and I appreciated that,” Garcia said. “This will be a peaceful event, we don’t want any violence. We want to make sure that while this is a walkout, it’s not mandatory for everyone to go.”

The protest was held in response to the passing of the Texas Heartbeat Law which prohibits the abortion of a fetus after the detection of a heartbeat, which is typically at six weeks. Garcia explained that the club believes the law is extremely problematic because a lot of women do not find out they are pregnant until after the six weeks period. As a result, a huge number of women in Texas are effectively barred from having an abortion. 

“We wanted to not only educate people about women’s reproductive rights but also educate and advocate for safe sex practices,” Garcia said. “If we teach safe sex education in schools, [we] could prevent this entire situation from happening in the first place.”

Garcia also discussed the importance of the Supreme Court case regarding Roe v. Wade, in which the Supreme Court held that the Constitution of the United States protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without government interference.

“We [the Progressive Club] thought this [Heartbeat Law] was not only unconstitutional, but taking away the rights that Roe v. Wade fought for forever for all of the women in America. That’s why we really wanted to have a walkout,“ Garcia said. 

Accompanying the Progressive Club in hosting the protest is Green Team. Green Team President and senior Bibiana Martinez explained that the purpose of the collaboration was not only to support the reproductive rights of women but also to input eco-feminism into the conversation.

“We [Green Team], want to tie in how moving forward and doing climate action will also help with the fight [of] reproductive rights for anyone who considers themselves a female and we think that interconnection will help catalyze a bigger change and strive for [equality for women],” Martinez said.

Green Team Vice President and junior Maya Loughney stated that the protest was also representative of BVH’s support for women’s reproductive rights. She further encouraged students to protest about current issues.

“[The protest] represents us as youth because we are the future. When [the] youth show that they want to make a change, they have the most power to make that change. These laws are specifically going to impact us in the future, so it’s important that we are the ones who make the change,” Loughney said.

City of Chula Vista Councilmember Jill Galvez spoke at the walkout, indicating her support for students’ right to protest. Galvez commented on the current situation with the Justice Supreme court passing the Texas Heartbeat law despite the law being in conflict with Roe v. Wade. 

Laws are being made by people who I believe aren’t in correct positions to make these laws. Why old men? I don’t think they have any say [in] woman’s right to be since, first of all, they’re not a woman ”

— Bibiana Martinez

“We’re taking for granted the rights that have been [for] 50 years. It is a very real possibility that these rights could be overturned and that’s not fair. I appreciate the young men and women who are taking the time to educate themselves about what the Supreme Court rules on. [I] very much appreciate the fact that [the younger] generation understands what’s at stake,” Galvez said.

As students—like Martinez, Loughney, and Garica—spoke, the crowd would roar back at them. Morgan reflects on the experience of being in front of the crowd and speakers. 

“It was great. I know most of the [speakers] and they did an incredible job. I know that every day they constantly fight for women’s rights and just rights in general,” Morgan said.

Morgan describes that the reason she decided to attend the walkout was because she wants to advocate for women’s reproductive rights. She added that she has personally heard unsupportive comments from other students regarding women’s reproductive rights. Her takeaway from the experience was to just keep fighting for the rights of other women and herself in addition to educating people on the current situation.

“It’s important that there is awareness, especially in our school because I know a lot of people in our school who are not supportive. I feel the younger generations definitely need to advocate more and deliver this message to each other,” Morgan said.

Galvez expresses that who people vote for matters because of the policies put in place by people in power. She advised people to pay attention to the policies that shape one’s life because they matter. 

“Always, no matter what the issue, pay attention. Get involved and speak your mind, because if you don’t, someone else will do it for you,” Galvez said.

 

 

A previous version of this article misidentified junior Lannah Garcia as a senior.