SURF Member Stands by "Work It for Women"
To the Editors:
Access to abortion, a topic of national debate long before Roe v. Wade (1973), was greatly limited in 1976 by the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of government-funded health insurance to cover abortions, posing great barriers for low-income women interested in obtaining an abortion. The cost of an abortion often includes not only the procedure itself (ranging from $350 – $1000), but can also include transportation to a clinic, an overnight stay, food, childcare and several days off work.
In organizing this event we did not deny nor overlook the importance of promoting access to a range of contraceptive options. Both this semester and in the past, we have worked to increase awareness and access to other options such as birth control and emergency contraception. We are aware of the need to educate women and men about a full spectrum of reproductive health care options. This event focused on abortion because it is one of the most threatened of all reproductive health care options.
The advertisements for “Work It for Women” were careful to explicitly indicate what our event was and where students’ money would go. We knew that this fundraiser would be provocative, but there was no deception on our part about the goals or objectives of this event. Furthermore, we believe that our advertising inspired students to think about what it means to be pro-choice and to consider their own opinions, prior to attending and donating to the fundraiser.
The event was not just about dancing and beer, but incorporated educational components. Posters about the history of abortion, accessibility statistics and emergency contraception lined walls of the ’Sco. Also, videos about abortion access played near the entrance, where a number of representatives from other reproductive health and political organizations set up booths with literature and information.
“Work It for Women” was not about making decisions for women, but was about helping them realize a choice they had already made. Women that go to abortion funds have usually decided that abortion is the right option for them, and abortion fund staff are required to refer women who are undecided to family planning counselors. The money raised by our fundraiser does not go to pro-choice political organizations, but will go directly to an individual woman who has decided on a course of action within her rights.
For many women seeking an abortion, their first moral obligation may be to care for their existing family to the best of their ability, with the understanding that an additional child could prevent them from doing so. Many women wish to become mothers only once they feel prepared for that responsibility and realize that having a child at a certain juncture would be irresponsible for themselves and to the potential child. Many consider irresponsibility to yourself and others to be immoral. Only an individual woman can know what is in her best interest.
Abortion is a safe, commonly practiced (one in three American women will have an abortion by the time she reaches age 45) medical procedure. Limiting its accessibility to low-income women limits their access to equal health care. It’s important to remember the tragic and painful experiences of women determined to get illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. Women will continue to seek abortions regardless of limitations, and regardless of risks.
Students United for