With Roe in the Rearview, UNH’s Anti-Abortion Movement is Just Getting Started


Sarah Donovan, Content Editor

Katelyn Regan, fourth year student and president of UNH Students for Life, once claimed “my body, my choice.” She still does, but what she didn’t realize were the negative effects that come with abortion. 

Upon learning more about what goes on during an abortion, and the mental tax after, she had a “change of heart.”

“I still will very strongly say ‘my body, my choice,’” but I now clarify that there are two different bodies involved and that we should be respecting both as such,” Regan said. 

On Sept. 14 UNH Students for Life, a secular chapter of Students for Life of America tabled outside Holloway Commons at UNH. Its mission is to educate college students about their options, to be an advocate for all human beings “no matter what stage of life,” and to work with organizations at a local level to provide resources for pregnant and parenting students. 

“We believe that if a student does choose life that they should be able to continue their higher education here with nothing stopping them from doing that,” said Regan, “We’re trying to create policies and make change on this campus so that women know that they don’t have to have an abortion to continue their education here, and that they can be successful without one.” 

One way UNH Students for Life supports students is through their collaboration with Standing With You, an organization that works to provide resources to women who are pregnant or might be pregnant. Standing With You is accessible, as it works as a tool to locate women with pregnancy resource centers in their area through zip code. 

Regan said she is excited to be a fellow for Standing With You this year, enabling her to support women and students on the UNH campus. With Roe v. Wade being overturned on June 24 in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, Students for Life’s work has only just begun. Their mission is to continue stronger than ever now that their goals of advocating against abortion are more achievable than ever.

“Now more than ever it’s extremely important for women to know that they have resources and options other than abortion, now that it isn’t as accessible as it used to be,” said Regan. 

When asked about the controversy of demonstrating the anti-abortion position in a very liberal area, Regan said, “People get really offended and mad.” 

In light of the controversy following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a counterdemonstration gathered opposing the anti-abortion table. Abby Pinckney, a first-year student at UNH, started the counter-demonstration across from Students for Life’s display. 

“I walked by the Pro-Life booth and I get very upset when things are very one-sided and there wasn’t representation for Pro-Choice,” Pinckney said. 

The abortion-rights demonstration was peaceful. People cheered the gathering on, and the counter demonstration grew. 

“I’m just really grateful that so many people joined us,” Pinckney said.

Stephanie Luiz, Students for Life New England regional coordinator, works within New England to bring Students for Life of America to universities to share their mission with college students. She reflected on her thoughts about the counter-demonstration. 

“I’m always happy to see people standing for their beliefs. I think that’s something really integral to college, and I think it illustrates how much of a debate this actually is,” she said. “The fact that people on both sides were willing to stand for something they believe in so strongly and I’m always happy to see college students and young people stand for their conviction and stand by their conviction.” 

She noted that this was the biggest demonstration she’d seen at a university, but said to keep in mind that she has only been in her position for two months. 

“It’s never taken the form of a protest before,” said Luiz. “I found it pretty disappointing that they did not want to engage with us at all, they weren’t very interested in having conversations with us or trying to understand where we were coming from, and I think that would have been an appropriate additional response.” 

With the midterm elections merely weeks away, the abortion issue has taken center stage. To Luiz, one of the most important things is the legal terminology used when legislators are formulating reproductive laws. This past legislative session, New Hampshire House Democrats proposed CACR18,  a provision to ensure the right of an individual to make reproductive medical decisions stay intact. To Luiz, this typifies the mischaracterization of the abortion argument. 

“The move to mischaracterize abortion as healthcare is dangerous and misleading. Abortion is not healthcare,” she said. “I think that representing a pregnancy as something that needs to be dealt with is a massive part of this problem, and just represents the continuation of the dehumanization of an entire category of human beings,” said Luiz. 

UNH Students for Life’s goals remain largely the same leading up to Nov. 8. 

If there is one message that the pair wants to stress is the “humanity of the preborn.” To both, abortion is a violent process that “intentionally kills”, and is therefore “always wrong,” according to Luiz. 

“The science is pretty conclusive that human life begins at conception but yet there is such a debate about when human rights begin for the preborn exclusively, and what we do at Students for Life is really try to have that conversation,” Luiz said. Why are the pre-born dehumanized? Why are they the category of people denied their right to life?”