by Kristen Sands, 2017-2018 Campus Leader at Davidson College
Hello from Davidson, North Carolina, Kristen Sands here! To celebrate 45 years of Roe v. Wade, I worked with Planned Parenthood Generation Action campus representatives Caroline Roddey and Emma Granowsky as well as student leaders of the Health Justice Committee Jennie Goodell and Lily Acton, to develop a week of fabulous events sponsored by Shout Your Abortion! We had the best time getting members of our community together to celebrate the 45th anniversary of abortion legality, learn more about reproductive justice, and come #TogetherForAbortion.
We kicked off the week with an educational lunch event covering the history of Roe v. Wade, its current place in this political atmosphere and why legality does not mean access. We discussed barriers to reproductive healthcare that exist for Women of Color, queer and trans folk and other marginalized communities, discussed attacks on Roe, and talked to students about what they could do to support abortion access.
On Wednesday, we took over campus trivia night to ask our fellow students some questions on Roe v. Wade and abortion designed to bust some myths and raise awareness about North Carolina’s abortion laws. For example, we asked “Does abortion put you at risk for… A) Breast Cancer, B) Chronic Depression, C) Infertility, or D) None of the above?” in order to educate the group that women who get abortions are no more likely to develop depression than women who carry a pregnancy to term, and there is no correlation between breast cancer or infertility and having had an abortion!
On Thursday, we were incredibly fortunate to have a number of powerful activists take the time to join us for a panel discussion on Reproductive Justice. Our professionals in the field were Tara Romano, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, Calla Hales, Director of Administrative Services of A Preferred Women’s Health Center, and Ash Williams, North Carolina Organizer from SisterSong. Tara, Calla, and Ash built an amazing discussion, helping us understand what Reproductive Justice means, how we can contribute to this work, and how we can center patients and providers in our conversations and activism related to reproductive freedom.
On Friday, we had a booth open all day for students to write notes of thanks to all the hardworking people who make abortion access possible. Students loved taking advantage of the opportunity to send a note of gratitude to abortion providers, activists, clinic escorts, and advocacy groups.
The Roe v. Wade Celebration week at Davidson was a huge success and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to bring education, gratitude, and celebration in honor of the 45th anniversary onto my campus. Our events were well attended by faculty and students alike, and we loved the opportunity to engage in discussions about Reproductive Justice and abortion access, to celebrate the progress that has been made, and to prepare to tackle the challenges that remain. Thank you NARAL Pro-Choice NC and Shout Your Abortion for making this week possible!