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Virginia students hold school walkouts advocating for abortion access

Protests were organized at 45 schools, according to Generation Ratify Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. — Students at dozens of schools across Virginia walked out of their classes Monday to make their voices heard on the issue of abortion.

The commonwealth-wide walkout was organized by the youth-led movement Generation Ratify Virginia. According to organizers, 45 schools said they would participate in the statewide student day of action, and wear green in support of abortion access. Organizers said they expected more than 1,000 students to participate in the walk-outs, and those who couldn't were asked to support the cause by wearing green. 

Students held demonstrations to demand federal and state measures codifying Roe v. Wade, including the certification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. Due to the mass engagement, some schools have chosen to continue their advocacy and hold demonstrations Thursday as well, organizers said.

RELATED: Roe v. Wade debate renews push to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

The student protests are the latest action in the D.C.-area following a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe V. Wade.

Over the weekend, protests took place outside the Supreme Court and outside the homes of Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in Maryland.

RELATED: Capitol Police separate tense Roe v. Wade protests outside Supreme Court

RELATED: Pro-choice protests outside Maryland homes of Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh

"I have engaged in countless conversations with students locally and throughout our state, and they long to have their voices respected and acknowledged in the fight for reproductive rights. It's time to listen to youth," said Felix Hedberg, the Generation Ratify Virginia Policy Director and junior at Open High School in Richmond, Virginia.

WUSA9 spoke to students at George C. Marshall High School, including senior Matthew Savage. He, along with several other classmates, fear the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned.

“It’s a decision that I as a man will never have to make," Savage said. "Whether it be people in Richmond, the governor of the state, legislature, our people in Congress, or the Supreme Court -- that's not their decision to make it. It belongs to an individual person." 

Serena Miller-Muro said she understands those who have religious beliefs that equate abortion to murder, and said while she respects those practicing their faith, she doesn’t necessarily agree with them.

“I think that everybody should just be given the option to choose because you're more than welcome to have those values and just not act on them," Miller-Muro said. "But everybody should have that option." 

Another George Marshall senior, Jaya Pania, said she doesn’t think anyone should be forced into parenthood.

“This is something that's super important because as youngsters we have so much time ahead of us and we want to make sure that we're able to live the fullest life and an equal life,” the 18-year-old said. 

Savage added that students are concerned with the threat of having fewer rights than their parents did at their age. They said they want lawmakers to hear their voices, as eligible voters, now more than ever. 

The future of abortion in Virginia may depend on what happens in the state Senate next year.

Currently, Republicans hold the Governor’s seat and House of Delegates in Richmond. However, Democrats still command the Senate by a slim 21 to 19 majority. Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, who holds the tie-breaking vote in the Senate whenever it is deadlocked, is also a Republican.

RELATED: Upcoming Virginia Senate elections could determine future of abortion in the Commonwealth

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