Olivia Triska is taking on Roe V. Wade by starting small.
A sophomore at American University studying Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government, Triska founded AU Students for Life with the help of several peers. Triska, the club’s president, says that the organization’s purpose on campus is to “provide a space for students who identify as pro-life where they can voice their opinions and also create a space for civil discussion.”
“We’re trying to squash some of the stereotypes of the pro-life stance and show young people that there are level headed people that are pro-life and also people that are pro-choice,” said Triska.
Now in the clubs second semester, the group has approximately 15 active members who come together for various events throughout the year and engage students around campus.
However, Triska isn’t just an advocate for the unborn. “I always talk about consistently being pro-life,” said Triska. “That means I’m pro-life in terms of abortion, capitol punishment, and assisted suicide.”
Triska says that to her, the most empathetic stance is providing a voice for the people that can’t speak for themselves. “I think and I know that as a country, the people that are the most marginalized— most downtrodden— are the unborn, the people in our prisons, the poor, and the people who are sick,” said Triska.
“I see that person in the womb or that person in the electric chair as having dignity and worth no matter what the circumstance,” said Triska.
Reproductive rights have historically been a hot button issue for politicians, and the 2020 presidential election is no exception. With increased threats against Roe V. Wade and abortion access by the Trump administration, many anti-abortionists have found themselves in limbo when it comes to finding a politician that represents their beliefs.
“Currently, I don’t know who I’m voting for, but I absolutely plan on voting,” said Triska, who often finds herself grappling with the two-party system. “Coming at it from a pro-life perspective, no party satisfies everything that I believe. It’s frustrating to have to sit down and ask ‘what atrocity is worse?’”
While Triska hopes that Roe V. Wade will eventually be overturned, she thinks the road ahead will be long. “I want politicians to begin to compromise and create more legislation that helps women, our foster care system, and our adoption system as well,” Triska said.
Moving forward, Triska hopes to continue creating spaces on campus where students can engage with one another by having constructive conversations and feel more optimistic about the future.
“Change takes taking the vote to heart. I do have hope because I know I have a vote,” said Triska.