Weekly Focus 6

 

The Critical Connection

After studying all these sources, I have come to understand of how important it is to advocate for something you’re passionate about and to spread awareness.  January 22, 1973 changed the lives of many women when the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on Roe v. Wade, that “only a pregnant woman and her doctor have the legal right to make the decision about an abortion” (Health).  14th Amendment states, no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (Gitelson), while the fifth section states that Congress may enforce, “by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”. From the 14th Amendment, it is fair to conclude that unborn children are persons under the law. Depending on the political party with their respective platforms, the views on abortion differ My issue this semester is on how clinics should be available to all women, in particular, Missouri. This state has only one abortion clinic for its entirety.

      On Tuesday, my group visited the Chico State Health Center. Everyone in the group has similar research topics: Planned Parenthood and abortion.  I learned that the health center is similar to Planned Parenthood in some aspects; it provides health education, contraceptives, and STI treatment. Having a health center available to students greatly adds to their overall health and well being. This connects with the article we read together as a group, Local Access To A Planned Parenthood Clinic Linked To Reduced Dropout Rates, which was a scholarly article that summarized a study done on women who were in close proximity of a Planned Parenthood clinic. This article offered statistics regarding how access to Planned Parenthood clinics affects dropout rates among young women and teens. The sample included white Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics.  The researchers concluded that “women living in areas that included a Planned Parenthood site were significantly less likely than others to have a child under the age of five, 5.0% vs. 6.0%” (Local). Their research showed that access to Planned Parenthood is linked to the success of many individuals, and those who live close to a clinic will have a reduced school drop-out rate. These places wrestle with the same issue: there must be a way for women to get better access to health care. This links with the documentary our group watched called The Hunting Grounds. This documentary was an eye opener and tear jerker; it was about the amount of rapes and sexual assaults occur on college campuses. “More than 16% of college women are sexually assaulted while in college” (The Hunting Grounds), and a majority of the time the rapist doesn’t get penalized for the crime. The universities try and downplay rape reports, finding that it will look bad for their reputation. Sometimes, the universities just claim that the accusation was false, which is actually “2-8% of the time” (The Hunting Grounds). The documentary focused on two women, Annie and Andrea, who were raped during the start of the school year. They found their way to supporting each other and eventually other girls. They advocated for something they wanted to bring awareness to, and something that needed to be changed. This links with Village Politics, and “how our Attention Deficient disorder world creates so many competing claims on our focus that it’s almost impossible to escape the noise, and harder to distinguish the important claims from the trivial ones” (Loeb). The two survivors soon started ‘connecting the dots’ (as they said) and wanted to change policies, particularly title IX. A title IX complaint is for the university or institution when a student feels as though they have been discriminated against (The Hunting Grounds).  “Given the potential of technological resources to distract us, we need, to stop using them as toys and start using them as tools” (Loeb). This is exactly what Annie and Andrea did; they heavily relied on the use of technology to reach out to other victims and to spread awareness. They phoned, texted, emailed, Skyped, and Facebooked to change policies, and support student survivors and their families. Word spread and people started telling their stories and change started to happen. But, “if nothing changes, more than 100,000 college students will be sexually assaulted in the upcoming school year” (The Hunting Grounds). Public interest groups and single-issue groups all seek to lobby Congress on this issue. Without these groups and people like Annie and Andrea, change would not come about.

The article our group read from Gitelson, U.S. Attitudes Altered by Sept. 11, was about the country’s reaction to 9/11. This article described how in times of tragedy, people come together as a nation. The population is able to disregard differing opinions about politics and social issues in order to support the nation in times of need. I believe when a woman needs help, we need to all come together to support her, no matter what.

All of these sources are intertwined. The people who support and advocate for what they believe in really make a difference on legislation. All of the sources come together to prove a few points: support a cause you are passionate about and make your voice be heard.  In addition, we must all come together to support and care for women in an adverse situations, whether from sexual assault or choosing to have an abortion. Change cannot be done without taking the first step for what you believe in, and as Gandhi remarked, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. This documentary has made me want to help those in need in cases of sexual assault. I do not know much about this subject, but I know that I am interested in lending a hand and having my voice be heard. Change is coming and it can start with one person.  

 

Works Cited

Clymer, Adam. “U.S. Attitudes Altered Little by Sept. 11, Pollsters Say.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 May 2002. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

Gitelson, Alan R., Robert L. Dudley, and Melvin J. Dubnick. American Government: Myths and Realities. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

“Health Centers – Planned Parenthood.” Health Centers – Planned Parenthood. N.p., 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Loeb, Paul Rogat. Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging times. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010. Print.

“Local Access To A Planned Parenthood Clinic Linked To Reduced Dropout Rates.” Perspectives On Sexual And Reproductive Health 48.3 (2016): 154-155. MEDLINE. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

The Hunting Grounds. Directed by Kirby Dick, performances by  Andrea Pino, Annie Clark, Claire Potter, The Weinstein Company, 2015.

 

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