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Bay Area Students Voice Concerns In Wake Of Abortion Rights Showdown At Supreme Court

HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – As the Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a case that could nullify the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, some Bay Area students weighed in on how they see the future shaping up.

If the court overturns a 50-year-old right to abortion, what other rights might be up for review?  America is undergoing a political climate change and it will be the young generation that will have to live with it.

"You can't accommodate both interests, you have to pick" said Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the hearing, where the justices heard arguments on a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. "And that's the fundamental problem..."

Even abortion rights supporters admit there will likely be enough votes to gut Roe v. Wade, if not overturn it completely.

At Cal State East Bay on Wednesday, students in Samantha Francois' Sexual History class were a bit stunned by the whole thing.

"We're going backwards with what people are allowed to do with their bodies and that's really unfortunate. And it scary, honestly.  It's really scary," said student Jessica Prause.

The young generation has grown up thinking access to abortion was a Constitutional right, certified by the Supreme Court.  Now, the same court seems ready to take that right away.

"It kind of, just, destroys my confidence in the law, if stuff like this is so easily challenged or overturned," said student Keith Vazquez.

"Fifty years we've lived with Roe v. Wade which says there's a Constitutional right to abortion," said Noah Brandt, with an anti-abortion rights group called Live Action.  "There is no Constitutional right to an can search the whole text."

Opponents of Roe v. Wade say the right to abortion was invented by the Court and should be abolished. Santa Clara University Constitutional Law Professor Margaret Russell says there are other rights that could be threatened by that same argument.

"This is one of the hot-button areas.  I would think that same-sex marriage could be another, in the way it intersects with religious liberty and religious objections. Voting rights is certainly that as well," she told KPIX 5.

"So, it's not even the beginning of the rollback of rights.  I think it's significantly down the road."

Planned Parenthood says 26 states are prepared to ban or severely restrict abortions and 15 of them have so-called "trigger laws" that would take effect immediately if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The students are learning that rights should not be taken for granted.  They are bestowed by people, not God, and they can be taken away.

"I think a lot of people have gotten complacent, never really thinking that it could be repealed," said student Ashlyn Frasier.  "I think a lot of people have forgotten what it means to have to fight for something like that."

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