Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Students Protest for 24 Hours in Support of Abortion Rights

Student activists gathered outside the Supreme Court for 24 hours protesting the Texas Heartbeat Act.  

The 496 Abortion Rally, named for the average number of miles someone living in Texas must travel to get an abortion after the passage of the Texas Heartbeat Act last month, was organized by Georgetown University College Democrats (GUCD) and H*yas for Choice and began at midnight Oct. 23. Over 50 students and community members participated in shifts at the demonstration throughout the day. 

The rally helped to raise awareness about the Texas law on campus, according to GUCD vice chair and advocacy director Nico Reyes (COL ’24), who helped to organize the rally. 

Sarah Ackels/The Hoya | Georgetown College Democrats and H*yas for Choice protested for 24 hours in front of the Supreme Court demanding legal action after the passing of the Texas Heartbeat Act.

“By being there for 24 hours, by bringing out so many people to go protest, by spreading our message all over social media, by getting people to talk about it, we made this an issue on campus,” Reyes said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “We made people talk about it. We made people get educated on it. Those individual events cause ripples.”  

The Texas Senate Bill 8, which came into effect Sept. 1, prohibits abortion in most cases and as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. The law also prohibits abortions in cases of rape or incest and allows private individuals to sue abortion providors. The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to block the law; instead, the court has opted to fast-track appeals from the Department of Justice and abortion rights providers in Texas. 

Reyes said in addition to rasing awareness on campus, the protest was also to protect abortion rights nationwide. 

“What was terrifying about this bill being passed is not only did it affect women in Texas, but it opened the door for every other U.S. state to follow,” Reyes said. “I was incredibly disappointed to see that the Supreme Court didn’t act.” 

Individuals outside of the Georgetown community attended the rally, including students from George Washington University, American University as well as Carleah Summers, a Democratic candidate running to represent Maryland’s 6th District, according to Reyes. 

Reyes said organizers chose the Supreme Court because of the institution’s history as a place for activists to gather and inspire change. 

“It was pretty incredible to be sitting in the same spot as people who have demanded change throughout history,” Reyes said. 

People who do not live in Texas have a duty to advocate for those whose abortions rights are under attack, according to GUCD treasurer Sarah Ackels (MSB ’24), who attened the rally. 

“As a woman in Washington D.C., I’m really grateful that I have access to abortion health care, but I definitely have a responsibility to advocate for those who don’t,” Ackels said in a phone interview with The Hoya.  

Since the law took effect, abortion rights activists across the country have pushed for abortion protection on the federal level, with the Women’s March holding an abortion rights rally last month at the steps of the Supreme Court. 

Ackels said people must pay attention to the Supreme Court and vote in midterm elections to protect abortion rights. 

“Advocacy in any form is never over. I think that being aware and staying on top of what the Supreme Court is doing about this is really imporant, and I also think that voting in midterm elections can have a high impact on the legislation that gets passed in the future with regard to abortion rights,” Ackels said. 

It is vital people advocate for abortion rights, according to Nico Hwang (COL ’23), who participated in the rally. 

“We do care about this, we do think that this is an important thing and we do think that this needs to change,” Hwang said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “I personally think it’s the right thing to do, to advocate for this particular right.”

Reyes said he believes protests have the power to influence future political decisions. 

“I know activism can change people, and I want to be a part of that change,” Reyes said.

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