Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Not An Easy Choice


With women’s history month in our midst, the 40th commemoration of Roe v. Wade in our not so distant past, and the skepticism surrounding the future of women’s reproductive freedoms in Michigan – the second annual It’s Not An Easy Choice Event comes at a relevant and necessary time.

Subtitled “Herstory: Dispelling the negative stigma of abortion,” the program will aim to depict multiple perspectives – medical, activist, as well as personal, to combat the harmful attitudes surrounding abortion. In doing so, the program hopes to shed light on the realities of abortion at a time when reproductive freedoms, specifically in Michigan, are being significantly threatened.

In December of 2012, Michigan legislators passed one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in decades: HB5711. The bill requires doctors in abortion clinics to screen patients for coercion, bans the use of telemedicine in the first trimester, and regulates the disposal of fetal remains post-abortion.

The good news and well, bad news, is that HB5711 is a significantly watered-down version of the bill originally posed to Congress. An activist presence lobbying against the bill, protests outside the Capitol, as well as a performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues attracting upwards of 3,000 people to the Capitol steps identified an intense oppositional presence to the bill that legislators could no longer ignore. And how can we forget former Representative Lisa Brown and her “vagina” reference when discussing women’s health. How dare she!

It is clear that the issues of women, or shall I say the issues of women being discussed by predominantly men, are prevalent in politics today. I encourage you to join the conversation and make the issues of women – for women and by women. “It’s Not An Easy Choice” is an opportunity to do just this. By emphasizing the personal, abortion and reproductive freedoms are brought out of the abstract and back down the Earth.

The event will take place Thursday, March 21 at 7 pm at the Oakland Center of Oakland University, Lake Superior Room A.

The program will include keynote speakers Renee Chelian, CEO of Northland Family Planning Clinics, Lindsay Maas, field organizer for Planned Parenthood, as well as Grace Wojcik, Center Coordinator of Gender and Sexuality Center of Oakland University.

The event is free and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Donations are welcome. Other participating organizations include ACLU, UniteWomen.org, and the Scotsdale Women's Center.

Tori Whitworth, NOW Intern

References

Baker, K. (December, 2012 14). Michigan house sneakily passed the country’s most extreme anti-abortion bill early this morning. Retrieved from http://jezebel.com/5968424/michigan-house-sneakily-passed-the-countrys-most-extreme-anti abortion-bill-early-this-morning

Bassett, L. (December, 2012 28). Michigan abortion law signed by gov. rick snyder. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/michigan-abortion-law-_n_2377744.html

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