By: Mira Costello
In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision, commonly known as the overturning of Roe v. Wade, students at IU South Bend and citizens across the United States have been left to wonder what the future of reproductive healthcare and abortion access will look like.
To curtail fears, foster a supportive environment and share knowledge, the American Democracy Project (ADP) hosted a panel discussion in the University Grill for students to learn about the decision and share their perspectives. Other student organizations, including the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), co-sponsored the event.
The panel, moderated by Dr. April Lidinsky of the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) program on campus, included IU South Bend community members Cassandra Castro (a WGS graduate), Natasha Collins (an English major), Kayla Isenbletter (a Master of Public Affairs graduate), Dr. Stacie Merken (assistant professor of Criminal Justice) and Peter Loutzenhiser (a member of the QSA).
Rounding out the ADP’s Constitution Week programming, students and panelists discussed topics ranging from the legal details of abortion and the Constitution to what it means to be pro-life or pro-choice, abortion and mental health, influences on the LGBTQ+ community and more. While many students with backgrounds in political science attended, the event saw students with diverse perspectives and various academic focuses.
Nevaeh Mendoza, a sophomore who attended the event, said she felt it improved her understanding of the issue.
“I feel much more informed about the constitutional basis of Roe v. Wade and the various communities its overturning will impact,” she said.
Panelist Peter Loutzenhiser emphasized that the event, while intended to start dialogue, was not the end of the discussion about reproductive and constitutional rights on campus. They encouraged students to get involved in politics.
Students interested in getting involved with the American Democracy Project can contact Director Elizabeth Bennion at email@example.com.