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The Eighth Grade Advocates for Abortion Rights

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Every year, our Eighth Grade Humanities students select a social issue that’s currently in the news, gather information about it, create a petition for how they feel the government should address it, and collect signatures from San Francisco residents—sometimes numbering in the thousands. Then, on their annual trip to Washington D.C., they present the petition to a government official, discuss the topic in depth, and advocate for change. This year, the eighth graders chose Keeping Reproductive Rights Safe and Legal as their topic and are arguing against the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

We would like to thank Dr. Dawn Ogawa, obstetrics/gynecology specialist and CDS parent, for visiting our campus and talking with the eighth graders about this subject. They were interested in learning about the practical effect of abortion restrictions, such as children being forced to remain pregnant and states making it difficult to travel to clinics, as well as the scientific basis (or lack thereof) for lowering the abortion cutoff to 6 weeks after conception. The students had a lot of questions, and Dr. Ogawa was happy to answer all of them.

“We do a disservice to our students by acting like this is a women’s issue,” Eighth Grade Humanities teacher Terry Ashkinos told us. “It’s a human rights issue. You can see what’s at stake: lives, livelihoods, personal privacy, autonomy to your own body.” With the encouragement of adults such as Terry and Dr. Ogawa, the students are taking a brave stand for human rights, living up to our value of being just and courageous.