Meet Glamour’s 2019 College Women of the Year


June 11, 2019

Annabeth Mellon: …This May, Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, which would outlaw the procedure, even in cases of rape and incest. The bill was passed by 25 Republican male senators and signed into law by Republican governor Kay Ivey. When the bill passed, Mellon grieved what was happening to her beloved state. Then she sprang into action. As the president of her college chapter’s Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity (URGE)—where she helps students on campus get access to reproductive health care and hosts events that create safe spaces to talk about body autonomy—she’s working to help raise money for local grassroots organizations like the Yellowhammer Fund and the National Network of Abortion Funds.

While the debates about abortion access have raged across the country, for Mellon, activism is all about staying local. “These issues affect individual communities, and no one knows those complexities better than the people who are living there,” she says. “The idea of a big sweeping solution that’s going to help the whole nation is great in theory, but there may not be a solution that works everywhere. There’s more room for things to happen on the local level because it’s easier to talk to leaders directly. It’s not just ‘I’m going to send an email to my senator and hope he sees it.’ There’s so much more power in local action.”