Crowd speaks its expectations


Affordable health care, size 18 pants, equal representation, privacy, body hair, eating,… Affordable health care, size 18 pants, equal representation, privacy, body hair, eating, having babies, not having babies and a better president. These are just some of the items listed by participants of the pro-choice speak-out as things that women deserve.

Campus Women’s Organization and the Supernova reading series co-sponsored the speak-out to raise awareness about abortion issues on the 31st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

“I feel like this is a very anti-choice time,” said Heather Bowlan, the founder and coordinator of Supernova, as well as a Pitt senior. “It’s an issue that is very important to me.”

People crowded into the Kiva Han on Forbes and Meyran avenues to both listen to and share works of poetry and prose on subjects ranging from relationships to workplace anecdotes.

Jen Stephan, president of CWO and a senior at Pitt, spoke about her visit to a clinic in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and her experience there with what is referred to as the “global gag rule.”

The gag rule prevents foreign governments and agencies from providing or lobbying for abortion services if they accept U.S monetary aid.

“It’s strange seeing how George Bush affected this tiny town in Bosnia,” Stephan said.

Another student spoke about her time as an attendant for an online dating instant messaging company, and her experiences in trying to deal with an awkward and socially inept man.

Julia Lucas, a junior at Pitt, relayed her experiences in Bangladesh and described how some women were able to receive health services for the first time ever. But because of the gag rule, women are not educated or given access to abortion procedures, she said.

“They cannot afford large families,” Lucas said.

Those who attended the speak-out were supportive in their views of the usefulness of such a gathering.

“I think it was great to celebrate the 31st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and to bring people together to speak out and celebrate it,” said Pitt junior Randee Dunford-Maykall. “In this political atmosphere, I think it is very important to speak out in an open environment, without judgment.”

Stephan felt that this would not be the last time this type of event was organized, or the last time the CWO would work with Supernova.

“It’s been a great series that we have been really excited to work on,” Stephan said.

Stephan also said she felt that the event was successful, not only in providing an outlet for women to speak out, but as a way to get important messages into the open.

“I think we had a good turnout,” Stephan said. “People had a lot of important things to say about the pro-choice movement and women in general.”