SDS, Kent community protest Roe v. Wade overturning


Colleen Burns

Fionna Fisher, SDS organizer and senior sociology major, leads the group as they march towards the Kent State rock on June 24.

Alexandria Manthey

Ty Kohler and Colleen Burns

“Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate.”

“Hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy has got to go.”

“Two, four, six, eight, you can’t make women procreate.”

These were some of the chants heard at the Students for a Democratic Society protest in Kent on June 24.

On Friday morning, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions up until fetal viability, or around 24 weeks, and stood as a precedent for 50 years. The decision was announced more than a month after a leak showed a potential overturning was coming

The anticipation of a ruling sparked SDS to plan a protest in Kent, where about 50 people gathered at the Portage County Municipal Court.

SDS previously held a protest on May 6 after the leak was originally announced.

“In light of our last protest on campus, which was a march in light of the leak, we had around 200 to 300 students, maybe more, come out to protest in support of reproductive rights,” said Fionna Fisher, a chairman for SDS and senior sociology major. “We know that the student body is very concerned about this. This is an issue felt by a majority of the students on campus.” 

Fisher also helped organize Friday’s event and led the chants. 

“There’s a lot of emotions going on right now. A lot of anger and sadness, but people are coming together, and it is motivating that people care,” she said. “We want to give people a voice, an action, a way to show their opinions.”

Kent State students and members of the community also attended. 

“I wasn’t surprised when it happened because of the leak, but I was hollow. The government has done so many things to prevent people from having their own liberties,” Junior nutrition major Laurel Yoho said. “There are such bigger issues in this world, like you have to be hesitant to have a kid in a world with a baby formula shortage and rampant school shootings, but those aren’t issues being dealt with.”

Dana Schesventer, 40, said she was “floored” when the ruling was announced.

“We are losing rights as women, and there is no way a man should be in control of our bodies,” she said. “We fought the Revolutionary War to keep church and state separate, so why are we allowing them to come back together? What’s next? Gay marriage? Women’s voting rights?”

Among the men who came to protest the ruling was senior political science major Janson Smith.

“It is easy to think that this may not affect men in any way, but it does. Limiting women’s rights will hurt everyone as a whole. Men should not be able to dictate what a woman can do to her body. Even if you feel this has no effect on you, the next big case overturned might. You have to fight it while you can,” Smith said. “I have worked with many girls who are victims of assault, some of whom had to get abortions. So it is so foul to think of how other women who are going through those scenarios now and in the future are going to have to handle it.” 

While no pro-life supporters were present during the rally, their presence was heard multiple times as passersby yelled messages such as “abortion is murder” and “God bless life.”

The protest finished with a march to the rock on Front Campus where organizers offered closing remarks.
SDS is not just leaving it at a protest. Fisher said they will continue to voice their concerns as trigger legislation in Ohio comes to fruition and further restricts access to abortion. 

They are also asking people who want to get involved to call and email President Todd Diacon for a formal statement. 

“As the university president, Todd Diacon, we believe that as a representative of the student body and of Kent State, that there should be at least a statement,” Fisher said. “To have it completely ignored is unacceptable when this ruling and overturning of Roe affects most, if not all of us, at Kent.”

Anyone interested in becoming involved with SDS can visit their Instagram or go to to receive a pre-written email to send to Diacon. 

Ty Kohler is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]
Colleen Burns is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].