Student-led Women’s March calls attention to reproductive rights

A group of students and faculty march through the UNE tunnel in support of women's reproductive rights
The second annual event drew more than 50 students, faculty, and allies in support of women's reproductive rights.

"They say, ‘No choice’ — we say, ‘Pro-choice!’” the group of more than 50 students and faculty chanted as they trudged through puddles and swampy earth. They gathered in the rain, braving strong winds to march in solidarity for women’s reproductive rights.

Held on Friday, Oct. 14, the second annual Women’s March — organized by UNE student groups Generation Action and the Female Athlete Alliance (FAA) — began with remarks at the Harold Alfond Forum on UNE’s Biddeford Campus.

Speakers included Generation Action President Brooke McLaughlin (Neuroscience, ’23); FAA President Meghan Smith (Psychology, ’23); Jennifer Tuttle, Ph.D., Dorothy M. Healy professor of Literature and Health in the School of Arts and Humanities; and Planned Parenthood representative Rachel Minkovitz.

Following moving speeches and the recitation of poetry, the group, equipped with handmade signs, umbrellas, and plastic rain ponchos, meandered from the Forum, through the tunnel under Route 9, and by the Campus Center before arriving at the Ripich Commons, where marchers gathered for continued discussion.

The event was organized to raise awareness of recent attempts to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care, most notably the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, which had legalized abortion nationwide.

Last year’s march, organized by the same groups, also brought together dozens of UNE community members.

“Holding the Women's March again this year was so important to us,” McLaughlin remarked. “Women's rights are still under attack, and that has become even more apparent in recent months. We wanted to show that UNE is a place that values equal rights and women's reproductive freedom. I think our strong and mighty group that marched across campus sent that message loud and clear.”

The group marches toward the Ripich Commons

UNE President James Herbert joined the march

A student documents the march

Student organizers pose for a photo