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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Student groups host reproductive health event in response to Turning Point USA speaker Kristan Hawkins

Paraphernalia+at+Student+Government+Board%E2%80%99s+reproductive+health+event+in+response+to+Turning+Point+USA+speaker+Kristin+Hawkins+in+the+William+Pitt+Union+on+Wednesday+afternoon.
Adrienne Cahillane | Senior Staff Writer
Paraphernalia at Student Government Board’s reproductive health event in response to Turning Point USA speaker Kristin Hawkins in the William Pitt Union on Wednesday afternoon.

While Kristan Hawkins was spreading “harmful rhetoric” about reproductive rights at the Turning Point USA event on Wednesday, according to Alexa Pierce, student organizations gathered in the Student Office of Sustainability to distribute information and resources and to educate students.

“If you want to support survivors, you need to support all options and not just what is perceived as politically correct or polite,” Pierce, Pittsburgh Abortion Access Network member and senior law, criminal justice and society major said. 

About 20 people went to the Student Office of Sustainability to hear a workshop from Katie Emmert and Pierce, student members of Pittsburgh Abortion Access Network, about where to find accurate information about abortion and resources in the Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh Abortion Access Network, Student Government Board, Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Pitt, the Pitt chapter of Amnesty International and SAFE at Pitt were tabling with free resources for students. 

Emmert, a junior political science and law, criminal justice and society major and SGB board member, said all the information and misinformation surrounding reproductive rights is “difficult to navigate.”

“I think the goal of these events and the goal of sharing these resources is to make that access a lot easier,” Emmert said. “Obviously, access is dependent on how much the states and legislators want to support that access, but when they don’t do it, we have to do it ourselves.” 

PAAN hosted this event, titled “An Evening to Support Survivors and Bodily Autonomy,” to encourage students to seek out factual information and to combat potential misinformation that Turning Point speaker Kristan Hawkins might speak on. Hawkins is the President of Students for Life in America and wants to make abortion “unthinkable” in the United States. Hawkins described abortion as a “bloody business” and opposes abortions even in cases of rape or incest

Jade Chatman, the chair of the Support, Advocacy and Prevention Committee for Student Government Board, said some students’ first exposure to the topic of abortion and reproductive health is when they come to college.

“A lot of people’s first point of access and learning about abortion is seeing that stuff on campuses, is at college,” Chatman said. “If they’re freshmen, and they don’t really know about this stuff at home, and then they come to college, they can be really misinformed and I feel like a lot of other groups just prey on that.” 

Emma Schneck, a junior molecular biology major and a member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Pitt, said one of the goals of this event was to provide a safe space for survivors of sexual violence. 

“Kristan Hawkins’ rhetoric can be triggering for survivors,” Schenck said. “[Hawkins] said something along the lines of survivors of sexual violence don’t need abortion because you can’t really get pregnant that way, which obviously is not true. Survivors might need more support, and we’re here to provide that support.”

Pierce said PAAN chose to co-host the event because an educational event was something that the group had not done before.

“I’m supportive of the people protesting and think that educational events and protests can be done as means of collaboration,” Pierce said. “I think that we wanted to do something different that maybe hadn’t been done before for the previous speakers. We just wanted to work with the groups that were down to plan something.”

Krishna Amin, a senior math and theater major and the president of Pitt’s chapter of Amnesty International, said they feel that Turning Point’s messaging is limited to America, but could be influential elsewhere.

“The message that Turning Point sends is a very American message,” Amin said. “It’s something tailored towards American sentiments, especially the Christian aspect of it. There’s limited applicability to other parts of the world, but some of their messaging they send out could be accepted elsewhere and could spread to other places, which is harmful.”

Schneck said they feel that its “disturbing” that the University would “allow” Hawkins to speak on campus because it is upsetting to survivors of sexual violence.

Pitt did not respond to comment on Schneck’s remarks. Previously, Turning Point at Pitt told The Pitt News that funding for their speaker events comes from the national organization. 

Pierce emphasized the importance of community organizing.

“Community work is important,” Pierce said. “This workshop is tailored to a college audience but can be applied elsewhere. The organizations here will show up for you and help you get what you need.”



About the Contributor
Adrienne Cahillane, Senior Staff Writer