By Kristen Gell, Fall 2014 Choice Out Loud Campus Representative at the University of Richmond. Connect with Kristen and the Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) crew on Facebook!
This November has been another great month here at the University of Richmond! In the spirit of thanks, SURJ celebrated Thank You, Birth Control Day on November 12. We discussed all of the various reasons why birth control has so many values far beyond just pregnancy prevention. We set up a table in our Commons where students could also write why they were thankful for birth control. We plan to publish some of the most common answers in the next edition of our zine, coming out this January!
In an effort to break away from the stress of midterms, we decided to break from the structure of our usual Monday night meeting and watch a movie instead! We invited people from across campus to come and watch Obvious Child during one of our exam weeks. The event was a big success! We all had many laughs (thanks to the one and only Jenny Slate) while watching a movie with a great takeaway message. Afterwards, we stuck around for a bit to give attendees a brief overview of our organization and how they can get involved next semester. The movie was a great way to show people that we can support and advocate for reproductive rights all while having fun!
For a while now, our organization has wanted to get club t-shirts. While we found many templates and designs online that we liked, we ultimately decided it would be really cool if we could create our own original design. We have a few mock-ups in the works and hope to be sporting some really cool gear next semester – stay tuned!
This month ended well with a trip to the Board of Health meeting on December 4th. A few of our members went to the latest meeting in which the Board of Health voted on whether or not to amend the TRAP laws designed to make abortion less accessible to Virginians. Such regulations require clinics to follow the same strict regulations as new hospitals.
While we got there early, there were hundreds of people lined up trying to secure a place in the meeting and, with only 180 spots available, we were not able to get in. However, there was a large crowd outside that we became a part of. It was a great opportunity to see our work in action and how even one person can make a difference.
We spoke with others from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and people who were just there on their own! It was great to hear everyone’s input and perspectives on the specific issues at hand.
There were also, of course, the opponents to the amendment. It was sad to see how they used their young children as “props” and their use of deceptive posters advertising that they were trying to help women.
All in all, the day was a success, and the Board voted to amend the TRAP laws!