Taking on the legislature
The Student Feminist Organization is taking on national efforts to cut funding for abortions and Planned Parenthood through education on campus and throughout the city.
The organization attended the Walk for Choice at Cherryhurst Park in Montrose on Saturday.
“It was very successful and a great political event,” said Amanda Williams, president of SFO. “There were about 150 people there — a mix of men and women. We just all got together and encouraged each other; it was empowering.”
The Walk for Choice rally was part of a global event intended to raise awareness about the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” House bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.
According to Walk for Choice Publicist Jessica Roy, more than 12,000 people marched nationwide, not counting those who participated in Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
SFO took the rally one step further by garnering support against the addition of the Pence Amendment to Title X that calls for an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.
SFO held an “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” petition signing on Feb. 23 in front of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library while promoting the weekend’s Walk For Choice.
The group collected over 150 signatures from UH students, which Williams considers a success.
SFO members engaged every person who signed the petition in conversation.
“By doing that, it’s a way of empowering them to take the issues to someone else,” Williams said. “For every one person that we reached out to, they can potentially reach out to two more people or three more people. The signatures were great, that was very pragmatic, but the most important thing is that we reached out to them.”
The Pence Amendment has garnered a lot of attention in the past couple of weeks as the House passed it on Feb. 18 and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., revealed on the House floor that she had had an abortion.
SFO is particularly interested in seeing this amendment not pass because the organization sees it as a women’s health issue as well as an issue about the rights of women’s bodies.
“We were debunking some myths about Planned Parenthood … and introduced a lot of people for the first time to Planned Parenthood and their services,” said Williams about SFO’s petition signing.
“Our main goal was to introduce the issue to them (students) and how it concerns society as a whole, and why they should protect the health of women and families.
“We wanted to outreach to our community (at UH) and educate them about the issue. A lot of people can’t take action on something they aren’t informed about,” Williams said.