These national election issues should be critical to students, too

October 26, 2022


by Amy Ren

When the Supreme Court decided the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in June, activists across the country either celebrated the decision or mobilized for a fight.
At the center of the debate remains the question: “Does a person’s right to bodily autonomy and privacy trump a fetus’s right to life?”
The repeal of Roe v. Wade leaves the restriction or expansion of abortion rights solely to state lawmakers. Legislatures can also make “shield laws” to protect providers prescribing abortion pills across state lines.
Through telemedicine visits, where patients call or meet a doctor virtually and get a prescription mailed to them, activist groups like the Mexico-based Las Libras help people get abortions in states where the procedure is now banned.
Some doctors in the United States are also planning to dispense pills this way, but without shield laws they risk getting arrested, sued and losing their medical licenses.
Generation Z is most affected by the repeal of abortion protection, as they will grow up, begin their careers and possibly start families during a time where their choice to have a child can be state-mandated.
On the ballot this year are governors, U.S. senators and representatives, but also state Supreme Court justices and legislators, who along with county and judicial positions, can influence or pass state-specific “shield laws” or restrict abortion access.
In the upcoming election, voters must understand that who they vote for will impact abortion access. Whatever the outcome of the elections, Generation Z will feel the effects for years.

Affirmative Action

by Zara Siddique

On Oct. 31, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases pertaining to affirmative action, a policy hoping to correct past discriminations against individuals in minority groups. Students for Fair Admission, a group of anti-affirmative action students, brought cases against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alleging the universities discriminated against Asian and white students, are guilty of having predetermined racial goals and are basing admissions on this. These students seek to bar colleges from taking race into consideration and to find a different way to preserve diversity in schools.
This would cause most schools in the United States to fundamentally change how they admit potential students. Harvard’s president said, “Considering race as one factor among many in admissions decisions produces a more diverse student body which strengthens the learning environment for all.” He promised to defend the school’s admission process.
Affirmative action has protected the rights of minorities since President John F. Kennedy first referenced it in 1961. It is displayed as a crucial criteria for colleges to take into consideration, but as the percentages colleges boast become more prevalent, students worry how affirmative action impacts their college admission.
The Supreme Court’s verdict has the potential to fundamentally change the admissions process at all universities and possibly reduce diversity. As students reach the voting age, they are also entering college and universities; these cases have the potential to completely change the admissions process for all future college applicants.

Climate Change

by Taariq Ahmed

Of the thousands of global protestors that recently took to the streets to demand climate change action, hundreds were youth. Climate change is especially an issue of concern for Generation Z because of the likelihood they will experience its extremely severe impacts in the future. In addition to that burden, Gen Z is constantly reminded of the difficult job ahead — discovering an effective and sustainable solution.
The importance young people give toward climate change has been displayed within the Lab community several times: students attended the Chicago Global Climate strike in 2019, the community participated in a climate change panel in 2020 and the science department spread awareness about climate change through an official statement in 2021.
A steady rate of misinformation, skepticism, economic concerns and political polarization are emerging as the main obstacles toward catalyzing any major policies. Still, as warnings from scientific experts continue to increase rapidly, so do worldwide temperatures and the intensity of natural disasters. For many members of Gen Z, such as activist Greta Thunberg, these indicators demonstrate that the harsh realities of climate change cannot be ignored, especially by powerful governmental figures that have the ability to make substantial differences.
In light of 2022 events such as the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the government’s influence over climate change policy is clearer than ever. In this election, students and voters must choose politicians who will address climate change as if the world itself is at stake — because it is.

Gun Control

by Victoria Washington

At the end of the summer, students returned to classes with the intention of furthering their studies and socializing, but for many schools across the United States, that process has been interrupted by school shootings and gun violence. According to USA Today, last year’s academic year saw more gun violence in schools than in the past decade.
While school shootings and gun violence are not new issues, the recent spike should encourage Gen Z voters to re-evaluate gun regulation policies.
According to data compiled by RAND Corporation, most Americans agree that the increase of gun violence and gun related fatalities is unacceptable, regardless of their stance on gun-related policies. F
or those passionate about gun rights, the current challenge lies in the outcomes of suggested policies.
Illinois legislation prohibits, with some exceptions, the possession of a firearm, stun gun or taser within 1,000 feet of school property.
While school shootings occur on a relelivelty infrequent basis, according to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, they often have the most detrimental impact on a school community.
The ICJIA attributes most school shootings to issues surrounding the school climate, bullying and in-school violence. The organization asserts the need for sufficient mental health resources and school committee work to reduce the effects of targeted bullying and harassment.
In the upcoming election, everyone should be aware of candidates’ ideas and potential policies surrounding gun regulation and how they plan to reduce firearm related fatalities in the future.


by Peter Cox

Inflation is currently at about 8%, the highest it has been since the early 1980s. This increases prices, resulting in money effectively being worth less. Inflation is painful for the average American, especially young people, because gas and food, two of the biggest monthly expenses for teens, are particularly prone to price fluctuations.
The necessary measures the government will take to lower inflation will have consequences which will make life harder for consumers.
The main focus in United States’ political discourse on this issue has been about the effects of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan. The program, enacted in March 2021, introduced $1.7 trillion of government spending into the American economy. While the law contributed to inflation, other factors also led to the current inflation: increased consumer spending coming out of lockdowns, supply chain issues from lingering pandemic disruptions, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The normal tool governments use to deal with inflation is increasing interest rates. The Federal Reserve has already done this several times this year, and it likely will again. While increasing interest rates does decrease inflation, it makes it harder to buy things. This does not solve the issue of inflation in the short-term.
While this is likely the most relevant issue affecting teens, it is also influenced the least by the election. The main political takeaway is that the continued economic downturn is going to hurt the Democratic Party’s chances in the elections. Despite this, a Republican victory won’t see a significant change in how the government is dealing with this issue.

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