February 2004


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Beth Tarallo <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Choice Coalition <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 11 Feb 2004 11:24:22 -0500
text/plain (177 lines)
Hey folks,

 I thought some of you might find this article interesting (about campus
choice efforts in Conn). I'm also attaching a link to an article we have on
PPNNE's website  that is a great example of how the so-called PBA ban
impacts people's lives. It's a great read and I feel connects the personal
and political really well (pretty reacent...from just a few weeks ago).  Let
me know if you need anything!
 I pasted the one of the articles below. Here's the link to the "PBA' one:

Beth Tarallo, VT Grassroots Organizer, PPNNE
[log in to unmask]
802 878 7232 ext 232
March with me on Sunday, April 25th 2004 for Women's Lives! Check out for more info and to buy bus tickets!

Partying For A Cause

Abortion-Rights Activists Try Playful Ways To Overcome Apathy On Campus

The Hartford Courant

February 10, 2004

Raging keg parties, dancing on bar tables and charity car washes - yeah,
that all still happens at college.

But now those traditions compete with "safe-sex parties," bake sales that
include penis- and vagina-shaped cupcakes, and game nights with the Sexperts
- all sponsored by abortion-rights activists on Connecticut campuses.

The in-your-face tactics are part of an aggressive campaign by
women's-rights groups to recruit a new generation of abortion-rights
activists. They see the campaign as critical when, they say, the Bush
administration is launching an all-out war on reproductive rights and sex

"Young people have a lot at stake; their lives will be drastically altered
if this president is re-elected," says Kate Michelman, president of NARAL
Pro-Choice America.

One of the biggest problems on campuses, she said, is that young women
simply can't believe their right to abortion could be taken away.

"Not since Roe vs. Wade [in 1973] has the threat to reproductive freedom and
choice been so great," Michelman said. "We've had conservative presidents,
but never a conservative president, Senate and House of Representatives.
We're all redoubling our efforts on college campuses and among young

Shanta Evans is a local leader in the battle. Evans, 25, is Connecticut's
campus organizer for Planned Parenthood. Many of her days are spent driving
from campus to campus to support her student interns as they plan
activities, including the March for Women's Rights, an abortion-rights rally
scheduled for April 25 in Washington, sponsored by six of the nation's
leading women's-rights groups.

Her efforts are paying off. Evans reports that Connecticut campus interns
sponsored 13 events in the fall of 2002 and were up to 48 in 2003.

A recent conversation between Evans and Aurora Hannigan, a Planned
Parenthood intern at UConn, would make many people blush.

"Did you get the condom-gram e-mail I sent you?" Evans asks, and "Do you
have enough condoms for UConn Late Night?" That's a university-sponsored
event at which organizations distribute information.

Hannigan, a junior biology major with aspirations for medical school,
embodies what Planned Parenthood looks for in a student activist. She is
involved in virtually every women's-rights organization on campus, including
the National Organization for Women, the Sexperts and the "Vagina
Monologues" (they do a student production of Eve Ensler's play). In short,
she's committed.

"I worked at a summer camp, and during staff training, some of the 16- and
17-year-olds were talking about contraception," says Hannigan. "I was amazed
at what they didn't know about it. That cemented my wish to get ...
information out.

"In my high school, I had sex education, but I've run into people on campus
who were taught abstinence. In the U.S., we have freedom of choice, but if
people don't know how to get it and use it, that freedom is nominal."

Hannigan updates Evans on the university's upcoming Sexfest, a two-day event
promoting safe sex. She mentions she is working with other students to
provide information on where each of the Democratic presidential candidates
stands on reproductive rights.

Campus organizers report that the most effective methods of educating are
interactive, like the sex battles, which pit dorm against dorm in a
question-and-answer competition to see which side knows more about
sex-related issues.

A typical question might be: What is the average volume of semen in one
ejaculation? Following the answer (a teaspoon, or 5 milliliters), educators
give information pertaining to each subject, such as how to properly use a
condom. Students are lured to the event with something every college student
craves: food.

Other events are more straightforward, including a screening of the video
"When Abortion Was Illegal," a documentary that features women telling
personal stories of coping with unplanned pregnancies before Roe vs. Wade.

Anti-abortion activists also are at work on campus but are using more
conventional methods to spread their message.

At the University of Hartford's safe-sex parties, members of Vox, the
student arm of Planned Parenthood, discuss emergency contraception and
inform students that it's available at the health center for $15. They also
discuss how to practice safe sex. Cupcakes shaped like penises and vaginas
come with a goody bag of condoms, lubricant and informational packets, also
sponsored by Vox.

Erin Aiello arrived at the University of Hartford three years ago and was
stunned by her political science professor's subtle insertion of
anti-abortion beliefs into his lecture about the constitutional right to

"It was enough to rankle me," she said.

So she started Vox the next semester and has slowly been building awareness
and membership on campus. She's not shy about voicing her opinion, whether
it's at a panel sponsored by the campus anti-abortion group or at the
state's celebration of the 31st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Among those in
the audience that day were Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and state
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

"We have the recipe now to deal with apathetic campuses," says Evans. "Erin
has gone door to door and told people why they need to be involved. She went
into the dining halls and talked to students."

Aiello is more blunt.

"I wish I could say it's been easy here," says Aiello, who is the Planned
Parenthood intern at the University of Hartford. "It's like with little kids
and [taking] medicine. You have to sneak it in. It's not like Wesleyan and
Yale, where they have 20 women's groups, and they're very liberal. I have to
do fun things to get them out of their rooms."

It's working, slowly. Her biggest hurdle - which many say is the same across
the country - is a lack of awareness about what's at stake.

"It has been hard to motivate young women," says Michelman.

"It's not that they're not pro-choice, she said, but they have no experience
in a world without abortion rights, so they can't imagine it. "They don't
know how at risk the right is."

But momentum is growing, particularly for the April march.

"I've been traveling all over the country and at college campuses, and the
rooms are filled," says Michelman. "They're signing up, holding contests
with one another to see who can send the most people to the march. There's a
lot of activism that's increasing now among young people. It's refreshing
and important to see."
Copyright 2004, Hartford Courant

Visit for Connecticut news updates, sports stories,
entertainment listings and classifieds.

Beth Tarallo, VT Grassroots Organizer, PPNNE
[log in to unmask]
802 878 7232 ext 232
March with me on Sunday, April 25th 2004 for Women's Lives! Check out for more info and to buy bus tickets!