Students remember landmark August 2 vote to maintain abortion as a right

Two months later, passionately involved students mark the significance and impact of Kansas’ Aug. 2 decision on abortions


Maya Smith

Junior Gabriel Spray holds a sign reading “MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS” at the May 17 student walkout.

By Tessa Collar

Jumping around her kitchen, sophomore Giova Rubenstein was overjoyed to learn the results of the August 2nd election after attending protests and canvassing over the summer in support of abortion rights. 

I was more just surprised at the outcome because I wasn’t expecting it,” Rubenstein said. “I knew it would be a close call, and I was extremely happy to hear it was a vote no.”

On August 2 of this year, Kansas voters decided to continue to protect the right to abortion and not allow further restrictions on this right. This election came after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on June 24, leaving this right up to individual states. 

Last spring, LHS students walked out of class in support of abortion rights. While most LHS students were too young to vote in August, Rubenstein wasn’t the only student involved in protests and other related work over the summer leading up to the election. 

Sophomore Xayden Cromedy spoke at a pro-choice protest at South Park over the summer, sharing personal experiences in hopes of inspiring listeners.

“My mom had me at a very young age, and I know a lot of people who have gotten abortions,” Cromedy said. “It’s still been hard [for them], but it was better than having the kid, so I just focused on personal experiences.”

Cromedy addressed the crowd with the intention of reaching anyone, whether they shared her views and experiences or not.

“I just hope that if anybody was listening that was pro-life, that they would kind of get a perspective of where we’re coming from,” Cromedy said. “Also, just to make people feel like they’re not alone.”

Senior Josephine Dee was among other students to attend a pro-choice protest over the summer. 

“It was really amazing to hear the speakers, and when we won, I just was like, ‘man, they must be so proud,'” Dee said. “It was really awesome. I brought my sister, and she’s 11, so it was really fun for her to be able to be there and have that experience too.”

Dee noted the importance of the right to choice, looking forward to future generations and for her younger sister. 

“This is about our future and our bodies,” Dee said. “So it was really important for me to have her there because I wanted her to know what her future could look like, good or bad. And I think it made her feel way more involved in the topic.”

Some students felt glad this is an issue they can agree on with others that may otherwise have differing political views.

“I was like, ‘wow, this really goes to show how much people believe in even just voting in general, getting a voice out there,'” junior Addy Welch, who attended the LHS walkout, said. Having relatives that disagree with me politically, or environmentally or wherever, I was like ok, this is kind of a gap that we can bridge and have solid ground.”  

Other states, including California, Kentucky and Vermont, will vote on similar abortion bills in November. 

Rubenstein said she is hopeful Kansas can become an example for other states. 

“I hope other states can look out and see what we have done,” Rubenstein said. “Hopefully, that impacts their choice on how they want to approach it.”

Rubenstein hopes that in protesting, she can “give a voice to other people around us to know that you can go out and protest and it is ok, and there is always a chance.” 

In addition to attending a protest, Rubenstein canvassed door-to-door to help residents register to vote and inform them of the upcoming election.

“It was just cool to really interact one on one with these people and see how much support they had for us going out and doing this and just talking to people in general,” Rubenstein said. 

Junior Brendan Symons was involved in the August 2nd election in a different way: working at the Douglas County Clerk’s office. Leading up to the election, Symons helped with various tasks such as testing ballot machines, completing paperwork and data entry. 

Symons emphasized the importance of elections and getting involved in the process. 

“I think it was a great experience to be able to learn about how the process actually works,” Symons said. “It’s really important to keep confidence in our elections system to keep our democracy working, and the best way to do that is to get people engaged in the civic process.”‘

While abortion remains legal in Kansas, some students felt there may still be challenges for individuals 

seeking an abortion. Junior Ruby Hoffer, who attended the LHS walkout last spring, expressed concern for access to safe abortions.

“Abortion isn’t something that’s widely available,” Hoffer said. “Even now, someone might have to travel a bit from here, and for some people, it could be difficult. I think it’s not going to be accessible for everyone that might need one in the first place, at least in a safe way. That’d be my biggest concern.” 

Dee explained that her passion for the issue inspired her to get more involved. 

“I think this [issue] was most important to me because it was so close to my heart,” Dee said. “It just truly impacted me. So I wanted to go out and show my support and learn things about what I could do. I got into teaching people how to register to vote, telling people where they could vote. 

“I was trying the hardest I could to get my message out there to maybe change one or two minds, and it worked.” 

Like many other LHS students, Cromedy was unable to vote. She felt more motivated to involve herself in protests and election work because she couldn’t help the cause by voting. 

“I feel like whatever I can do to help… I will because I can’t vote,” Cromedy said. “So anything I can do, even if it’s just small, I want to do it.”