sfc, where you at?
Whatever happened to Students For Choice (SFC)? With Harvard Right to Life waging a tireless informational campaign including posters and doordropped literature, we now have the Crimson picking up slack for the conspicuously silent (and effectively dormant) pro-choice group. Today's well-reasoned staff ed, denouncing parental notification laws for minors seeking abortions, hits home for me: my mom is a lawyer for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and worked like crazy to defeat a parental notification bill on the November ballot this year. But while the Crimson is taking up this topical issue, SFC remains mum. What gives? (more in expanded post)
I know, I know--people are tired of the abortion debate. Like affirmative action and same-sex marriage, it has suffered from overexposure, particularly in amateurish debate circles. So perhaps the leaders of SFC fear that a pro-choice campaign will simply fall on the deaf ears of students weary of the same old woman's-right-to-choose arguments. Or maybe SFC feels secure that the student body is progressive enough that they don't need to be reminded of why they support reproductive rights.
But neither of these potential hang-ups ought to prevent the group from mobilizing. SFC just needs to widen its scope of vision and affirm that reproductive choice is about more than tired abortion rhetoric lets on. Plan B, parental notification, condom use, sex and health education in public schools--all these topics fall squarely in the reproductive choice realm and, just as importantly, aren't played out.
In addition, other facets of reproductive health are still largely absent from the mainstream discourse. For instance, how class and race factor into access to reproductive health services, the fact that some health insurance policies of federally-funded employers cover Viagra but not birth control, and whether abortion services should be provided primarily in regular hospitals rather than being marginalized in abortion clinics are all subjects worthy of consideration and debate. With respect to abortion itself, many people don't even know what the procedure entails or which medical advances have made it safer for women over the years. SFC could even educate students about the struggles for reproductive health services outside the U.S., especially since the Bush administration's policies restrict reproductive choice abroad and arguably endanger women's health in the affected nations.
Soon, I hope, SFC will be more than just a ghost organization. I know of at least one student who is trying admirably to resuscitate the group (whose website, as far as I can tell, hasn't been updated in over two years!), but despite emailing the current president repeatedly, has yet to hear back at all. Until the group gets back on its feet, I guess it's up to us (with the Crimson's help) to continue educating ourselves about reproductive health and choice, subjects that affect all of us (and I do mean all). And if there's one goal everyone can agree on, it's reducing total demand for abortions.
What are your thoughts on reproductive health and choice? If the SFC were active, what would you like to see it doing? What are some key reproductive health issues I didn't mention? If you don't agree with the ideas and aims of a group like SFC, do you still think the community dialogue could benefit from its contributions? Hit the comment button and share your thoughts with us!