ELAC campus news takes a dive back to the history of Roe V. Wade

By Steven Adamo

Politico reported Monday that it obtained a copy of the draft majority opinion, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, effectively overturning Roe vs. Wade.
According to the article, the opinion is a “full-throated, unflinching repudiation” of the 1973 Supreme Court decision.
Discussed frequently throughout East Los Angeles College Campus News’ 75 years as a newspaper, abortion rights and the Roe vs. Wade decision has been reported on and discussed since the early 70s.
The first mention of abortion in ELAC Campus News appears in the November 17, 1971 issue. Staff writer Myrna Johnson writes about Debbie Jones, a woman encouraging ELAC women to start a Women’s Studies club.
The purpose of the group, the article said, “would not only discuss male chauvinism, but also to help promote necessary reforms… abortion laws and equal pay for equal work.”
Though the group’s initial turnout was slow, she encouraged ELAC women to attend the first national women’s march “since women won the right to vote,” Jones said.
The Supreme Court began arguments on Roe v. Wade December 13, 1971 and made their decision on January 22, 1973. After the Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision was made, the first ELAC Campus News article to mention it was a piece by then Managing Editor Melinda Reyes titled “Male Abortion Rights Facts and Opinions.”
On May 9, 1974, the Women Employees Association met in the faculty dining room to establish a National Organization for Women chapter on campus.
“Most of the NOW chapters are involved in civil rights work stressing equal rights, better abortion counseling, upgrading the conditions of women in prison and their return to society, as well as child care centers and education programs for women,” then president of the Los Angeles NOW chapter and ELAC journalism instructor Jean Stapleton said.
On March 27, 1982, a three-hour play titled “The Great White Throne Judgement” was performed at Ingall’s Auditorium. The play was performed for four years at Los Angeles City, Pasadena College and Trade Tech colleges before debuting at ELAC. The article, the play dealt with “moral issues like abortion, homosexuality, drug abuse and teenage problems.”
In 1989, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke was elected to Louisiana State Legislature, which prompted the publishing of an ELAC Campus News editorial on March of that year. In the article, the writer says Duke’s
election “sets an ominous precedent in that it may act as a signal to other politicians that it is acceptable to be discriminatory.”
The editorial said that it is a dangerous concept at a time when someone like Dick Thornburgh, Attorney General under then President Ronald Reagan, “feels comfortable confidently telling the press that he expects the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision.”
In May of that same year, staff writer Rebecca A. Davis shared an opinion titled “We need Roe vs. Wade.” The article said in the 1950s, around a million illegal abortions were performed in the U.S.
“Then, as now,” Davis said, “making abortion illegal neither eliminated the need for abortion, nor prevented the practice. A woman who is determined not to carry an unwanted pregnancy will seek out some way to have an abortion.”
The article ends with Davis saying “the issue is the fact that women who are forced to seek out illegal abortions face substantial risk and trauma. It is crucial that we keep abortion safe, legal, and available to all women.”

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