Augustana community remembers Roe v. Wade


Professor Lena Hann recounts her time working for a women’s health center where abortion was offered. Hann was one of the featured presenters at the “Abortion is Normal” pop-up art show. Photo by Tony Dzik

With the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade supreme court ruling coming up on January 22nd, several different groups on Augustana’s campus held events to commemorate and remember the day.
Augustana’s pro-life group held an event on Thursday, January 11: a vigil to honor those who have died from abortion.
“Augustana Students for Life group wanted to create this event in response to the “Abortion is Normal” event that is happening right across the street,” Rachel Buenaobra, Co-President of the Students for Life group, said. Buenaobra wanted to present this event as the alternative for people who think about abortion in another way.
Buenaobra stated that the Students for Life group has had difficulties in holding events during the turbulent political times within the last year. “It seems hard to separate the topic of abortion and political ideologies,” Buenaobra said. “It is just that we are here for a certain purpose and that is life is a moral issue, not a political issue.”
On the same day, Augustana’s sexual health education group, +Impact, and the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art held a pop-up art exhibit called “Abortion is Normal”.
“Abortion is Normal” was an event that was one of several events linked to the “Shout Your Abortion” organization that has been giving grants to groups so that they can hold their own event, Dr. Hann, a professor in the public health department, said.
She explained that when she heard about the opportunity she turned to Dr. Claire Kovacs, the director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art to create an event that was suitable for Augie’s campus. The event hosted five speakers at the event, two of which were Kevin Rhemer, an Augustana alum, and Jimena López — two volunteer escorts for an abortion clinic in Peoria, IL.
“It’s important to know that there’s options,” Rhemer began. “If you google “how to get an abortion”, you’re going to find a lot of places that mislead you. It’s important to know that there are resources out there, and obviously that abortions are fine.”
López added that the statistics about abortion are often very moving and that understanding the normality of abortion through an event like “Abortion is Normal” is important to bring to a college campus so that there are fewer misconceptions about what abortion is.
Junior, Dana Moss shares a similar sentiment to Rhemer and López. Working as a staff member of the event as a sexual health educator for +Impact, Moss felt that “Abortion is Normal” is a great way for the Augustana community to push back against the stigma of having an abortion.
“We think it’s important to show that it’s not [shameful], and it’s not, it’s completely normal to have an abortion and it’s totally your choice, and no one should try and make you feel bad about it,” Moss stated.
For many Augustana student’s, having a platform to view and share differing viewpoints is important, and both the “Abortion is Normal” and the Students for Life vigil provided these spaces.
“I think [the events present] both sides differently but not in a way that puts anyone’s’ viewpoints down or to silence anyone on what they think,” Buenaobra said.
The 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade continues to see a lot of division within the country but the freedom to protest and discuss allows for Buenaobra and Hann to share their different viewpoints to the Augustana campus.