RIGHT now, Georgia lawmakers are considering one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in our country.
HB 481, or the Life Act, was filed Feb. 27 by Rep. Ed Setzler and is, in essence, a 6-week abortion ban. The bill would require health care providers to confirm the existence of a heartbeat before performing the procedure. Fetal heartbeats are not loud enough to be detected until around six weeks, and most women don’t even know they are pregnant until six weeks in.
This bill was introduced, somewhat ironically, right before International Women’s Day on Mar. 8, and is indicative of a nationwide problem.
“Personally, I believe the policies that are currently set in place are a reflection of how the country values women,” says Dasha Nolan, a senior writing major at the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University.
It is more important than ever for women to be valued and given access to the reproductive healthcare they deserve, particularly on International Women’s Day.
“International Women’s Day is a great time to pause and reflect, to pay homage to all the activists around the world who have challenged oppression in all of its forms, specifically fighting against systems of power that structure the world in terms of race, class, nationality, and sexuality, as well as gender,” says Jane Rago, director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Program at the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University.
The WGS program will partner with Feminist United, Planned Parenthood and Generation Action to hold a Read-In on the Armstrong and Statesboro campuses on Friday, Mar. 8.
“For International Women’s Day on campus, we’re doing a solidarity thing between the Armstrong campus and the Statesboro campus,” says Nolan. “We’re going to have volunteers—students, faculty or staff—to read either research they have that relates to women or creative work like poems or short stories that they wish to share.”
At the event, Generation Action students will also recognize National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, which is Mar. 10.
“We’ll have some talking points that members of Generation Action are going to prepare to speak about and recognize the importance of reproductive health care,” says Nolan.
The National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day seeks to encourage everyone to make the best choices regarding their sexual health. The National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers was started in memory of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion provider killed in the United States.
The Read-In brings all these issues together.
“The Read-In is a way for students to speak about how these issues are related,” says Lauren Crisp, president of Feminist United at Georgia Southern’s Armstrong campus. “Members of Feminist United and Generation Action want to thank the people who work every day to keep women healthy and ensure they have access to the full range of reproductive health care options, including treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and safe and legal abortion.”