SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — On Wednesday afternoon, students at more than 50 schools across the country participated in a walkout for reproductive rights — including some Savannah students.
At 12:50 p.m., a couple hundred students at Savanah Arts Academy (SAA) walked out the school doors, with posters in hand and a message for the nation. The walkout was organized by a group of 11th graders, who said they wanted to give a platform for people to make their voices heard.
“It affects everyone,” said SAA student Sarah Kate Maher. “Even if you don’t think about it, even if you don’t think it does. And it’s a direct infringement on our rights as people and as women and people who have uteruses. It’s just really important for our futures and the future of America that we have our rights to our own bodies.”
Students in the crowd said they were shocked at the news of the leaked draft opinion and hoped by walking out, they send a message that ripples across the country.
“We want our voices but we also want to make sure that people all over the place can hear this voice and this message,” Meredith Snead said. “So the fact that the walkouts are happening all over the country is just amazing for spreading the word.”
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, Georgia’s so-called heartbeat bill would immediately restrict access to abortion, which students said adds to their concern.
“We will be impacted by this because we are at the age where we can have babies and it should be our decision to choose whether or not we want to have a baby at this point,” Snead said.
While the bulk of students can’t even vote yet, they said it’s important to get involved now.
“We are the future,” Elizabeth Vaughn said. “We are the future politicians, we’re the future doctors and I think it’s important that we let everyone that we know that they can get out there and they can make a difference whether it’s now or in 20 years and I think starting that at 14, 15 and 16 is so important.”
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools did send additional officers from campus security and Savannah Police for extra safety. A spokesperson said the walkout was entirely student-led and not affiliated with the district.
Students from Decatur High School were also part of Wednesday’s movement.