Editor's note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian. Confidential sexual assault resources for UR students include CARE Advocates, which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804.801.6251; Peer Sexual Misconduct Advisors (PSMA), at email@example.com or 804.346.7674; CAPS, at CAPS@richmond.edu or 804.289.8119; Virginia LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline (24/7), at 866.356.6998; Greater Richmond Regional Hotline (24/7), at 804.612.6126; National Sexual Assault Hotline (24/7) at 800.656.HOPE.
On June 24, The Collegian asked University of Richmond community members to share how they felt about the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Here are some of the responses:
“Not only do I feel that this is a violation of both my human and political rights, but it puts the lives of so many people — particularly individuals of color — in danger. This will not stop abortions, it will only make them dangerous for a majority of people. Virginia protections are very much threatened with our current state legislature and governor. This is a horrifying thought as a woman living on a college campus in which rape culture is both rampant and excused. The court's decision makes me feel unsafe no matter where I am, but particularly while I am at a school that is doing next to nothing to prevent sexual assault.”
— Julia Berutti, '23
“I’m a Christian male and Republican. I am ashamed that people will value their religious beliefs over the safety and care of our nation’s women. I hear people say it’s a sin to be pro-choice and that ‘God will punish you,’ but if it is such a sin to support women’s rights, then one day I’ll answer for it. But, until then, I’m going to keep preaching for women’s rights. People are pro-life until it’s their loved one whose life is on the line where an abortion could save their life. I hope one day we can recognize this wrong-doing and fix it.”
“In my heart and soul, [I feel] overjoyed! I write this as I nurse my newborn daughter, and as I remember the sorrow I felt when my first pregnancy unexpectedly ended at eight weeks. In my head, as I anticipate "the summer of rage," I fear lost relationships from friends who have adopted the party line that a woman is not truly free unless she has the right to kill her child. You cannot divorce abortion from the fact that it is the premeditated ending of a human life. Abortion is antithetical to freedom in so many ways, but the idea can't be explored in handy memes and TikTok stories. The law has been passed, and, instead of rage, it is time for people to really put a scope on what abortion is and what it has done to children and women over the years. I pray that the "summer of rage" will result instead in the conversion of hearts toward a culture of life.”
“I am not surprised the U.S. would do this in the slightest, but I am in shock that anything could reverse so quickly due to the hands of old Supreme Court justices. There will be so much trauma after this Friday afternoon. My heart is heavy for all the Black and brown, poor and or LGBTQ+ women that will ultimately be affected negatively because of this decision. I am scared. I am outraged.”
— Tereza Hernandez, '23
“I am relieved and think it is a positive thing for our laws to be just and protect who needs protecting, but think it will be ineffective, honestly. It's stressful and frustrating hearing everyone yelling about having no rights when the only right that has been lost is to end your offspring's lives for your convenience and well-being. As a rape survivor, I am sick of people claiming that as an excuse for ending innocent lives. Further violence will never make you feel better about the violence done to you. I am tired of being called less of a woman because I don't take the popular stance as right or just, but only a band-aid solution to a gaping wound that women are experiencing. I am sad at the state of the world, and the repost culture that means this stressful topic is just being pushed down my throat every minute I spend on social media.
— Margaret Grigsby, '23
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“[I am] scared for our students, and my birthing colleagues and myself. If I were to be forced to give birth again, I would likely die or suffer horrifically due to a reoccurrence of severe postpartum psychosis. The idea of forced birth is horrific.”
“I’d ask that pro-abortion students keep an open mind. It may seem like everyone is on your side and that your side is the righteous one, but there are plenty of people — people you know very well — who feel very differently from you. Pro-life people are everywhere. They’re not sexist or bigoted or patriarchal. They’re just normal people with a normal opinion. A lot of liberals, especially students, never really have to listen to the other side of any issue. Many conservatives just stay quiet. I certainly do. As a result, many liberals don’t even know the beliefs of some of their closest friends. I can’t tell you how many times people close to me have made comments about conservatives being bigoted, homophobic, sexist and racists, all while having no idea that the perfectly pleasant and accepting friend sitting right next to them is a conservative. So please, keep an open mind. Remember that there are people around you rejoicing at this decision by the Supreme Court. It doesn’t make them any worse of a person than you.”
“I am absolutely disgusted, and I no longer feel safe in Virginia. To know sex trafficking victims, rape and incest victims in most states have lost their choice about their own body. Knowing that this country does not provide universal healthcare, guaranteed paid paternity leave, installed difficult loopholes to get access to government assistance and a terrible foster care system, but have decided to no longer protect abortion at the federal level is scary. I am scared for myself, sisters, friends and my nieces. I am concerned about what this will mean for women who are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. I can only imagine the amount of postpartum, lack of assistance and even suicide rates increasing for pregnant women. Guns are more protected than people. Nobody is actually ‘pro-life.’ They are ‘pro-force birth.’ Church and state are supposed to be separate, but somehow I get a Bible verse thrown at me every time abortion is mentioned. If women cannot have privacy, then what do we have? The fact that I may or may not have access to get an abortion due to my geographic area is a form of inequality for all women. While a man partakes in the same actions, however, I am the only one who suffers the repercussions. That is inequality. I could go on but typing this all up makes me so upset.”
— Tia Turner, '26
“Frankly, I am sad and scared, and I don’t even know how to name all of my feelings. This feels like it is the beginning of a social justice regression, and I don’t know what to do. I have been pro-choice since I knew what it meant, but I could never envision myself getting an abortion until I was sexually assaulted and in the midst of a pregnancy scare. Thankfully, I did not have to make that choice, but the fact that abortion was an option eased my anxieties a bit before I was sure that I wasn’t pregnant. I can’t imagine what it is like for those who are forced into an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Especially, given the state of our economy and things such as formula shortages, lack of proper education and access to free birth control, expensive childcare and homelessness rates. This end of federal protection is ridiculous and will likely exacerbate these issues. These people aren’t ‘pro-life’ they’re ‘anti-abortion’ and it is such a privileged outlook on a very complicated issue.”
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