Attacks On Our Reproductive Freedom

March 28, 2011

Guest Post by: Paula Bryant of Infusion Magazine

InfUSion Magazine is a quarterly, student produced news magazine that covers the latest campus, local, state and national news for the UGA community. Coverage includes sports, politics, fashion & style, entertainment and more!

In the years since the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, abortion has become an even more controversial issue. Since August 2010, both sides of the abortion debate have begun speaking out on campus, locally and statewide.

The yearly arrival of the Genocide Awareness Project on UGA’s campus, a campaign that displays graphic abortion photos and claims that abortion is genocide, was one of the first groups to begin the attempt to disparage our reproductive rights on campus last year. GAP and Justice For All, another anti-abortion group, are both sponsored by Students for Life, a student-founded and run anti-choice group.

More recently, the Republican Party of Georgia has proposed to redefine the meaning of rape and rape victim. The redefinition would deny women life-saving procedures, even in cases of rape and incest. Similarly, Representative Franklin proposed that every woman be investigated after miscarriage earlier this year, and Paul Broun stated that “God could not bless our country” with so many abortions taking place. Finally, the Republican Party has proposed to completely cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides health care services such as STI checks, cancer screening, preventative care and prenatal care for thousands of women.

Thus, it seems there is a war against women’s reproductive rights taking place, and abortion is being used as the fulcrum.

In response to the recent setbacks of women’s reproductive rights, the Women’s Studies Student Organization (WSSO) began the semester by holding a candle light vigil for the Roe v. Wade anniversary.

Roe v. Wade was the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that the right to privacy extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

This semester women’s reproductive rights are taking a disturbing step backward from the progressive 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade. On March 8-9, 2011 Justice For All visited UGA’s campus, and WSSO decided to protest.

Elizabeth Barnard, a member of WSSO, explained, “We need to make sure UGA is a bastion of intellectual dialogue on important social issues, and not a venue for hateful, inflammatory rhetoric!”

Thus, WSSO is fighting for intellectual, educated and proactive dialogue between pro-choice and pro-life activists. The goal is not to force women to have abortions, but to be understanding and accepting of women’s rights over their own bodies. During Justice For All’s display on Tate plaza, WSSO volunteers handed out condoms and medically correct information.

I believe that groups like GAP and Justice For All have a right to operate, but that they do

 

not have a right to disseminate hateful and inaccurate information as they have.

Many anti-abortion groups, such as GAP and Justice For All, rely primarily on inaccurate information, opinions and religious beliefs in order to back their arguments, yet they advocate for making abortions, a right which every woman should have, illegal. Inaccurate information, personal opinions and religious beliefs have no place in lawmaking.

WSSO, Sexual Health Helpers at UGA (SHHUGA) and Kathleen Dailey, the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom representative, a project of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, peacefully protested Justice For All, and many students were grateful for their presence, including me. The members of WSSO, SHHUGA and the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom acted responsibly and understandingly, and I believe they truly have our students’ best interest at heart.

Paula Bryant InfUSion Magazine

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