Students celebrate freedom of choice

Attempting to get its message of pregnancy prevention and education out on the 30th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, GW Voices for Choices held a party in the Hippodrome Thursday.

About 100 students attended the celebration of abortion legalization at a time when some students said the decision is close to being overturned.

“Pre-Roe people fought their fight, they knew women’s hardships,” said group founder and president Emily Goodstein. “It’s our responsibility to keep the rights. We’ve got to fight this battle.”

Sine the decision, some states have passed laws restricting abortion. Pro-choice supporters also consider it a crucial time, with the Supreme Court currently voting 5-4 in favor of abortion rights and possible conservative Supreme Court appointments by President George W. Bush.

The event featured a DJ spinning a mix of 70s and current music, information about women’s reproductive rights and a birthday cake.

Goody bags with a disco ball keychain, a “Roe at 30” badge and information about reproductive rights were distributed at the entrance. There was also a booth with information packs about abortion and abortion law development.

“I think it was a really important decision, so I’m here to support the cause,” sophomore Katie Carguilo said.

On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy “is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Goodstein founded Voices for Choices last year. A freshman at the time, Goodstein decided to organize the group when she saw that so many students were apathetic and misinformed about the issue.

“The biggest barrier is that people don’t care,” said Goodstein. “My objective is to help college students understand.”

Currently, there are more than 200 students on the Voices for Choices mailing list and about 30 core members. Approximately 20 percent of the students on the mailing list are male.

“We’re not feminists,” said treasurer Yasmine Yavar. “The only issues we work on are the choice issues.”

Voices for Choices works closely with Planned Parenthood and the GW Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

The only funding the organization receives is from the University. They receive other resources, such as condoms, from Planned Parenthood.

Last Wednesday, members of Voices for Choices participated in the peaceful rally in front of the Supreme Court.

The group has also worked with Capitol Goga, GW’s all female improv-comedy group, to donate money to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington security defense program.

Every ticket, $2 each, sold for Capitol Goga’s December 13th performance was donated to Voices for Choices.

Additionally, the group participates in the Action Network, a program that forwards lobbying e-mail to congressmen and senators.

While the organization has no other fundraising plans for the rest of the semester, they will participate in the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance’s Rock for Choice concert in March.

Goodstein said she wants people to know that the organization, like Planned Parenthood itself, is not just about abortion, but also about prevention and education.

“Only seven percent of what we do is about abortion,” Goodstein said. “We want to prevent people from (having to get an) abortion. Prevention and education is key.”

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