After 29 years, Roe v. Wade still stands

By By U Wire

By U Wire

PITTSBURGH?Students for Reproductive Freedom threw a birthday party in the University of Pittsburgh Union on Tuesday night, complete with cheerleaders, testimonials, flying condoms and a candlelight vigil.

Members of the group celebrated the 29th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States, but maintained a cautionary tone about the future.

Discussing President George W. Bush’s anti-abortion stance and the possibility that Bush will have the opportunity to appoint as many as three Supreme Court justices during his term in office, La’Tasha Mayes, Students for Reproductive Freedom’s vice president, urged those in attendance to remain vigilant.

“We take [the right to an abortion] for granted because we’ve never known life without it,” she said.

Shivering cheerleaders got the party started, urging the crowd to join them as they yelled and tossed condoms into the audience.

“Gimme a C! Gimme an H! Gimme an O! Gimme an I! Gimme a C! Gimme an E! Yeah choice!”

“Not the church, not the state, women will decide our fate!”

A candlelight vigil followed, during which members of Students for Reproductive Freedom read the stories of women who had died or suffered at the hands of illegal abortionists.

One woman spoke in first person about a bright young college student, who upon finding out she was pregnant, had someone insert a rubber tube into her uterus to abort her fetus. Infection set in, and the woman died with a $700 scholarship check?her hope for the future?in her pocket. As the readers finished the stories, each blew out her candle.

The party moved indoors to the Lower Lounge of the Union, where Francesca Cantarini, the Western Pennsylvania field director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, spoke about clinic violence.

Cantarini said that since 1977, there have been more than 55,000 acts of violence at abortion clinics across the nation, including seven murders, 41 bombings, 100 acid attacks, 122 assaults and three kidnappings. The estimated cost of the attacks is $8.5 million.

Furthermore, Cantarini said, recent surveys have shown that 5.2 million Americans feel that violence against doctors who perform abortions is acceptable.

She urged those in attendance to pay attention and take the reins from older generations.

“We need young people to take the initiative and get involved,” she said.

Cantarini also praised the efforts of Students for Reproductive Freedom in making emergency contraception available through Pitt’s Student Health Services, a change that came about only last summer.

She said she planned to attend a NARRAL student organizing conference in Washington next month and would take the group’s emergency contraception strategy with her.

“[Students for Reproductive Freedom’s] goals and objectives are nationally recognized,” she said. “They’re the first student group to get this done.”

U Wire