Student representatives and regional coordinators pose with pro-choice props outside Farmer Hall. Photo by Donovan Cleckley
On Sept. 20, the University of Montevallo Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) chapter hosted an Abortion Positive Tour to raise awareness about reproductive justice and to help promote community dialogue regarding abortion.
When asked about the aims of URGE, Co-President Madison Hollon stated: “Our goal is basically just to spread a positive attitude about embracing sexuality and normalizing sex education. In this regard, we held the Abortion Positive Tour to educate and normalize simple medical procedures that are necessary and to which we lack access as a basic human right.”
According to Hollon, URGE strives to foster a safe environment and also a space in which people of diverse backgrounds can express themselves and not feel ashamed. Hollon further emphasized that bringing sexuality into public discourse assists in reducing the stigma and repression surrounding sex and sex education.
In regard to URGE’s primary methods for raising the public’s consciousness, Hollon commented that grassroots efforts like tabling and petitioning constitute important activities for the organization.
She added that the Abortion Positive Tour was an informational campaign, but there are also social events which, from Hollon’s perspective, “further build stronger connections with other people” because, although URGE is about education, it is also about deeper involvement within one’s community.
The overall goal of the Abortion Positive Tour, Hollon explained, was about normalizing, in particular, the word abortion as used in public discourse and to raise awareness about the upcoming Amendment Two, which will be on the ballot Nov. 6th.
“This amendment has language that could outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned,” stated Hollon. As such, URGE believes the potential for complete deprivation of reproductive rights poses a frightening reality for women.
URGE’s petition against Amendment Two garnered more than 125 signatures from UM students.
When asked how URGE helps in fostering public discourse about reproductive justice and lessening the stigma associated with abortion, Hollon answered, “Taking the negative power away from the word helps emphasize that abortion is a procedure to which women and people in general, regardless of gender, need access and education.”
Opening public dialogue and raising consciousness is essential to fighting injustice in regard to reproductive rights for all people, Hollon added. “Such efforts can open the conversation about the procedure and assist in lessening the negative perception of abortion.”
If Hollon encountered someone unfamiliar with URGE and issues surrounding reproductive justice, she stated, “Basically, I would just say what URGE means, meaning Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity. We strive to create a community that wants to be active about inequalities surrounding issues of reproductive justice.”
Hollon additionally expanded upon what reproductive justice means in reality versus the general public’s perception.
“Reproductive justice is more than just sex education and abortion; it involves everything that prevents people from accessing the healthcare that they need,” said Hollon. “It is an umbrella term involving our work to fight injustice.”
Furthermore, Hollon discussed the urgency of reproductive rights for women and for all human beings in general.
“In our political climate, in this current administration, it is a scary and potentially dire reality that people could lose access to the healthcare which they need,” stated Hollon. “URGE considers such access a basic human right.”
Then, Hollon provided encouragement for young women in particular to find their voices in politics.
“Find what you’re passionate about in politics, discovering issues that anger you and drive you to be more active,” Hollon said. “Seek out opportunities to make your voice known because, especially in this political climate, we need more female voices and minority voices representative in politics.”
In closing, Hollon advised, “Never be afraid to ask for help and ask for opportunities because, more than likely, an answer is available.”