The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois is currently taking a road trip through the state, inviting people to share their reproductive health stories. Last night, the ACLU stopped at the Champaign Public Library to assess the barriers to reproductive health care on campus and within the greater Champaign-Urbana area. A small group of women attended the event. Topics ranged from Emergency Contraception availability in hospitals to Sex Education in schools.
There were a number of things that surprised me about the discussion and the event as a whole. We were all in agreement that more needs to be done for pregnant women and parents on campus. There is no pre-natal care on campus and pregnant students are referred to the local women’s health clinic. For those students who have children, there is no childcare facility available. The lack of assistance on Campus leads most pregnant students to chose abortion or drop out of school. It is clear that students are not aware of all the choices they do have on campus, an issue SFLI will be combating with our first Activism Day of the school year on September 7th.
This was the first time that I have been surrounded by people who are just as passionate about the pro-choice movement as I am about the pro-life movement. It was an eye opening experience. During the course of the discussion it was easy to feel defeated. However, during the end of the event one woman begin to share her concern about the future of abortion. She felt that the pro-life movement was gaining steam everyday, and she was especially afraid of the 40 Days for Life campaign. She described 40 Days as one of the scariest and most threatening events put on by pro-lifers due to its organization and impressive number of participants. This gave me a great amount of hope. Pro-choice activists are noticing our work and they have become fearful of our success. We have put them on the defensive.
Every day we are closer to winning this battle, but we can never rest, even when we have won.