Abortion remains important to student voters

By Yuzhu Liu, Assistant Features Editor

Chaundra Bishop, an Urbana City Council member, said she remembers she had tears in her eyes when the news first leaked that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bishop added that although she knew this change was only a matter of time since the Supreme Court had appointed three conservative justices in a row, it was still a shocking moment. She said that she thought of people who were already facing barriers to reproductive health care are now placed in a dire situation.

“Think about older people (who) fought this battle 50 years ago, and then to think that their children are going to have less rights than they do,” Bishop said.

With midterm elections coming up, Bishop said many on the ballot are asking voters about their greatest worries. She said reproductive rights are at the top of the list.

“This is a very big concern for a lot of people, so they want to hear their candidates say that they support reproductive rights,” Bishop said. “And those that do not receive far less support.”

Mia Bartletti, freshman in FAA, just turned 18 and said she is excited to vote. Bartletti said she has determined to vote for Gov. Pritzker and his vow to protect reproductive rights.

“He has come out and made statements not everyone has, saying (things) like, ‘I’ll keep Illinois a pro-choice area and don’t worry, you’re safe,’” Bartletti said. “That was good to know I’m in a safe place.”

Bartletti said she didn’t consider any red-state school when deciding where to go to college, as she saw an uncertain future of policy changes. She said she is glad to stay in Illinois where she can make choices.

Bartletti said she has confidence in Pritzker’s reelection and Illinois’ abortion legislation and feels upset for people in the states that banned abortion where policy can be difficult to change.

Corinne Lipkin, sophomore in LAS, said she is “slightly worried” about losing abortion rights in the midterm elections.

“Because I never thought that Roe v. Wade could be overturned in the first place, I feel like anything could happen at this point,” Lipkin said.

Bishop said the overturning of Roe v. Wade has fired up Champaign-Urbana. She explained that many people have realized that despite Illinois’ secure environment as of now, one election can change everything.

Bishop recalled how she heard of Republican women voting for Democratic candidates because of discontent with Republican politicians overextending their restrictions.

“Most people generally think that reproductive health care should be left up to women and their doctors,” Bishop said. “I think the support is stronger than what Republican politicians are saying.”

Lipkin said that though she has “some issues with both sides,” she will vote for more liberal Democrats during the election season. She said she expects more progressive people in the office to maintain the status quo.

“At least they are talking about women’s rights,” Lipkin said. “They’re at least trying, or at least pretending that they’re gonna try, so that’s better than the opposite.”

Lipkin said she feels many people didn’t care much about voting until Roe v. Wade proved how politics could impact her life. She said she believes the affair inspired more people to vote because they could make a change in their bodily rights.

Bishop said there have been plenty of drives for voter registrations. As a part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Board, Bishop has been busy calling, texting and sending postcards to remind people to vote for candidates who are outspoken about the fight for reproductive rights.

Despite the efforts, Bishop said she doesn’t see any predictability of this year’s midterm elections. She explained that today is a very different time when the nation has so much on the line, including reproductive rights, the economy and workers’ rights.

“I wouldn’t dare to speculate on what’s going to happen, but I’m definitely on pins and needles,” Bishop said.

 

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