By Claire Titcomb
Flapjack Chronicle staff
Do you have any idea what the coat hanger has to do with reproductive rights?
Not enough students do, according to the Voices of Planned Parenthood (VOX), which is why they decided it is their mission to inform and provide a safe environment for young women to learn about abortion. HSU’s VOX club is made of students who are for Planned Parenthood and they speak out against restricted reproductive and sexual health regulation, as well as attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. On Oct. 17, they hosted the documentary “The Coat Hanger Project” by Angie Young in Gist Hall at HSU, which covered a number of topics including why the coat hanger is a symbol of what they are against.
The documentary, filmed in 2008, discusses women who got pregnant before abortion was legal and were forced to give themselves illegal self-inflicted abortions, most commonly using a coat hanger. Other methods discusses involved women who used bike pumps, bubble syringes and knitting needles. Those methods often lead to infection, hemorrhaging and death.
Filmed primarily in the Northeast, director Abbie Young interviewed a wide range of people from women who survived illegal abortions to doctors and even students and how they feel about abortion and why it should never be banned.
“If a woman doesn’t want to have a baby, she will find a way not to have one,” said interviewee Shauna Stewart, a 20-year-old student from the University of Maryland. “ And the ways she will choose to not have that fetus will be the most dangerous ones.”
According to the film and The Guttmacher Institute, on average 60,000-80,000 women die every year from self-inflicted abortion due to state ban or no safe access to a clinic. Dr. Kenneth Corvo from the University of Syracuse described to interviewers how even though he himself is pro-life, it is not his place to inflict his belief on women who are dying from not being able to receive abortions safely.
“ People are ambivalent about things,” he said. “ I am in favor of reproductive rights for women even though it can make me uncomfortable…the termination of a fetus pains me. It’s a loss to the community. But that sort of ambivalence is lost on people.”
Restrictions on abortions are currently growing tighter and with the upcoming election, VOX wants the student public to make sure they vote for a candidate that will not restrict the right to choose. They also want women to know they can come to them for advice and information.
“It comforts me to know their our students my age who can be there if I ever need help,” said Elissa Blair, an HSU student who attended the film. “I hope other students know that they are there too.”
The Voices of Planned Parenthood are on HSU campus on Mondays from 2-4 p.m and Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m at the Health Center, as well as Thursdays from 5-7 p.m at The J.