LAHS students walk out in protest of abortion restrictions


Rebekah Park

Sophomore Lexine Flores walks off campus with other students in protest against anti-abortion policies. She holds a sign reading, “My body is not your political battleground.”

Chants of “No uterus, no opinion!” filled the streets as Los Altos High School students marched around campus and through Downtown Los Altos yesterday in protest of the potential overturn of national abortion protections. 

Mountain View High School junior Kris Koh organized the walkouts across LAHS, MVHS and Gunn High School. The LAHS walkout was conducted by sophomore Brooke Shapiro, who had only planned to be a participant but became the march’s unofficial leader. Seeing that no one was directing the students, Brooke came up with a walkout path on the fly, using online sources to come up with different pro-choice chants. 

“I like yelling,” Brooke said about why they stepped up.

The walkout began at 11:30 a.m. in the quad, with students chanting and holding signs as they walked through the campus. After a loop around the school, a smaller group of students took to the streets of Downtown Los Altos. Protestors shouted and carried signs with messages like “Abortion is a human right” and “Get your laws off my body.” Many bystanders clapped or cheered along with the marching students.

Protestors march through LAHS in the last 20 minutes of class before lunch, calling for action against anti-abortion movements.

The walkout was caused by a leaked Supreme Court draft majority opinion on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, published by Politico. The draft reflects a decision to revoke the federal right to an abortion, giving individual states the ability to regulate abortions. While liberal states such as California would be expected to maintain current abortion rights, strict abortion limitations in states such as Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas would be enforced immediately. It’s still possible for the vote to change before the final ruling, but the draft likely signals the end of universal abortion rights across the United States for the first time in nearly half a century. 

In the face of the Supreme Court’s decision, protests have erupted nationwide on both sides of the political spectrum. This walkout was part of a national day of action, organized by pro-choice activism group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Kris, who spread the word for the walkout through Instagram posts and by reaching out to friends at local schools, argued that protesting is necessary to bring about meaningful reform. 

“You can’t just call your senators and push the responsibility onto their plate, because they’re not the ones who are going to create change,” Kris said. “It’s the students who need to show up with all of their anger to cause disruption. And that’s what’s going to change this.”

Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg trailed behind the students for the entirety of the walkout. He explained that it was the school’s responsibility to keep the students safe during school hours. However, none of the teachers or administration interfered with the walkout.

“We look at this as civil disobedience, which is an aspect of politics and change in the United States,” Rosenberg said. “And when you commit civil disobedience, you’re expecting some kind of consequence. Students in this group are marked absent.”

Regardless of the consequences, many students felt an obligation to champion the cause of abortion rights.

“It’s shameful that our rights over our own bodies need to be debated,” freshman Kelsey Ngyuen said. 

“I’m here because my half-sister can’t get a f*cking abortion,” sophomore Malia Keating said. Malia’s sister lives in Texas, a state that bans all abortions after just six weeks — one of the most extreme abortion laws in the US.

Many students believe that they weren’t only marching for their own rights — which are protected in California — but to send a message about their willingness to stand up for their beliefs.

“It’s like voting,” sophomore Jordan Rahmfeld said. “One vote isn’t going to change the world. But if you don’t vote, and if you don’t participate, then you don’t have any right to complain about what happens next.”

Kris hopes that the walkout can be a wake-up call for people of all ages in the community. 

“This is not the time to feel like you don’t want to be political,” Kris said. “This isn’t the time to just stand on the sidelines and hope for the best…It’s important for us to step out and say that this has to be stopped.”