Binghamton Students and Local Democrats Host Reproductive Rights Rallies on Same Day, Showing that Abortion is on the Ballot 

By Devon Nicholson and Trevor Fornara
Photos: Aidan Emery and HM Staff

On Saturday, October 8, two reproductive rights rallies were held in the Binghamton area: one held on the Binghamton University campus and the other in front of the Broome County Courthouse in downtown Binghamton.

Background

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The case was brought to the Court through a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. The Court not only upheld the law but more drastically overturned two landmark abortion rights cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision delegated abortion regulations to states individually, rather than following a federal standard, and allowed for already in place trigger laws to take effect immediately.

Off-Campus Rally 

A large sign reads “WOMENS RIGHTS = HUMAN RIGHTS” on the steps of the Broome County Courthouse.

On Saturday, many gathered to promote the protection of reproductive rights at the Defend Reproductive Rights Rally in Downtown Binghamton, hosted by the local progressive group Indivisible Binghamton. Co-sponsors of the event included the Binghamton University chapter of College Democrats, Citizen Action of the Southern Tier, Young Democrats of Broome County, and the Democratic Women of Broome County. The audience at the rally was filled with those eager to stand in solidarity for reproductive rights, including students, community members, and political candidates. 

A series of guest speakers emphasized women’s rights as human rights through personal statements and calls to action. Many urged attendees to vote Democratic in the upcoming November election.

 Chance Fiorisi, president of BU College Democrats, told Happy Medium, “I want everyone to know how important this truly means for all of us, we will not let anyone decide who can criminalize love, not in my America.” He also spoke at the rally, emphasizing the implications of the Dobbs decision on LGBTQ+ rights. Fiorisi ended his speech with a strong message to pro-life supporters. “If you think nothing will happen, if you think the people will just forget to vote on Election Day, and if you think you can continue to strip our rights away, you have another thing coming. Some of us are not willing to give up our rights without a fight.”

Happy Medium Managing Editor Briana Lopez-Patino has a primary academic interest in medical ethics and was asked to speak at the rally to share this perspective. Her speech focused on the restriction of bodily autonomy caused by the Dobbs decision and encouraged the audience, mainly the targeted women of color, to use the power of advocacy to take back the autonomy that is rightfully theirs. “Overturning Roe v. Wade creates multiple unethical outcomes—people seeking dangerous and harmful ways to get what they need… Some people don’t have the means to support another life, or their physical body cannot handle the hard process of having a baby. Where is the autonomy?”

Priya Pindiprolu, one of the guest speakers and former president of BU College Democrats, reflected on the event in a statement to Happy Medium: “It was exciting to see students there in addition to the community members. I really hope that people take what they heard today and apply it to their daily lives and continue to fight for the reproductive rights of everyone.”

On-Campus Rally

Raissa Bellucci’s speech “discussed how black women are disproportionately affected by abortion bans” and what a post-Roe future may hold. Credit: Aidan Emery

The rally on campus was hosted by the Binghamton University chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Binghamton. According to chapter president Sophia Panos, this is their first year as a chartered SA organization, having started informally a few years ago. The rally has become an annual event, starting with student speakers at the Peace Quad before mobilizing for a march around campus. This year’s rally was co-sponsored by the Thurgood Marshall Pre-law Society, Binghamton Pro-choice Coalition, and the Binghamton University chapters of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), American Red Cross, and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).

“We’re fighting for reproductive rights for all people with uteruses, not just women,” Panos explained. The rally’s goals were to raise awareness and money for abortion clinics in states where trigger laws banning abortion are going into effect. 

One such speaker, Raissa Belluci, is a member of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and Binghamton NYPIRG. Bellucci’s speech “discussed how black women are disproportionately affected by abortion bans” and what a post-Roe future may hold. In a statement to Happy Medium, she stressed the importance of normalizing abortion as a regular medical procedure, referencing a 2017 study that found that around one in four women in the US will have an abortion by age 45 (Jones and Jerman). 

Jackie, a first-year student in attendance, said that she heard about the rally in a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course. “We were talking [in class] about how period tracker apps could be used against you in court if you get an illegal abortion, and that’s terrifying. I’m literally terrified.”

Ryan, a first-year student, added, “Roe is fundamentally linked to privacy, and is the bottom of the Jenga tower in relation to all of the cases built upon its precedent. If you pull out the bottom of the Jenga tower, everything built on it becomes shaky.”

Devon Nicholson is a business administration major from Queens, NY. She’s a consultant at Binghamton University’s Speaking Center, a member of Women in Business, and a member of the KKG sorority board. She loves listening to music in her free time! Devon is also a dual-Irish citizen.

Trevor Fornara is a senior from Mystic, Connecticut, majoring in philosophy, politics, and law. Trevor has served as Editor in Chief of Happy Medium since founding the publication in December 2021. Last summer, Trevor was a participant in the Summer Scholars and Artists Program, through which he received funding to create the first print edition of Happy Medium Magazine. He now works as the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the Binghamton University Undergraduate Research Center.

References

Jones, Rachel K. and Jenna Jerman. 2017. “Population Group Abortion Rates and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion: United States, 2008–2014.” American Journal of Public Health, October 19. https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2017/10/population-group-abortion-rates-and-lifetime-incidence-abortion-united-states-2008.