50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade Student & Faculty Reaction

Villanovas student health center.

Villanova’s student health center.

Caitlyn Foley, Staff Writer

January 22, 2023 would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but this past June a vote passed that terminated the constitutional right to abortion. 


The overturning of Roe v. Wade caused tension and conflict across the country and on our own campus at Villanova. 


In our Catholic-based community, this vote by the Supreme Court caused some students to feel relief, while numerous others felt anger and shock. 


“It feels as if America is regressing in terms of human rights, and women’s rights specifically” stated Isabella Balian, Class of 2025. “As a strong supporter of women’s rights and the right to bodily autonomy, my peers and I were extremely disappointed, worried for what’s at stake for women in America.” 


It is important to note that this campus holds many conflicting views on abortion rights. Our campus’s community allows for a variety of opinions and feelings to co-exist without verbal or physical harm done to others. However, there are many educated women on this campus that feel disappointed and even disturbed by the loss of this constitutional right. 


Hannah Bisson, Class of 2024, stated that she felt horrified when she discovered Roe v. Wade had been overturned. She strongly believes in the need for women to choose what they do with their bodies. 


“What does not make sense to me is how people do not see how this disproportionately impacts women in poverty and women of color,” Bisson stated. “It is unfair to force women to have a child in a country with no universal health care, especially if those women do not have the resources to care for that child. It is upsetting to think that the people who are making laws about my body are not directly impacted by those laws.” 


Dr. Alice Dailey, Professor of English, and member of the GWS Steering Committee, reflected on her thoughts from June when this vote took away the constitutional right to abortion. 


“I felt absolutely outraged and appalled,” Dailey said. “I was devastated and a lot of women were and still are devastated. Women’s bodies belong to women, not anyone else.”


This reaction was not an isolated one, as there has been continuous backlash against this vote since the day it was passed. 


“I believe that the rights and dignity of women is an area that we have made significantly less progress than we need to,” stated Dailey. “Women are alive, and women are people, but this legislation and the decision suggests otherwise, and it is deeply troubling that we are in a place where we tolerate that kind of misogyny.” 


There is a lot more work to be done in our country where supposedly all are equal. Many men, women and human beings disagree with this vote that abolished the right for women to have autonomy over their own bodies. 


Dailey, like many women across our campus and country, hopes “that we will see and continue to see a backlash against misogyny. We will hopefully move forward, not just back to where we were.” 


The emotions felt on Villanova’s campus about this overturning of a major constitutional right are still as strong as they were when the news first broke of this vote on June 24, 2022. There are so many educated men and women on this campus who still feel frustration and disappointment in the face of this loss of a right to female bodily autonomy. These discussions must be had because without conversation and debate on the rights and laws of this country, we are bound to repeat history.