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Leah Reis-Dennis Headshot

Harvard Stands Up to Stupak

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Despite the presence of enormous individual student ambition and drive here at Harvard, it's pretty much impossible to incite enthusiasm from any large-ish group about anything besides the upcoming exam in Social Analysis 10. When only about twenty people show up to watch candidates debate for the Massachusetts Senate seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy, I figured my high school activism for reproductive rights wouldn't be matched. Stupak proved me wrong.

Last week, I showed up to a student initiated "Stop Stupak Emergency Planning Meeting," led by Gina Glantz, Chair of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Kim Gandy, former President of NOW (both fellows at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics), to find a room packed with students: law students, humanities graduate students, graduate government school students, college students, and, notably, a large contingent of freshmen.

"Yes!" I thought. Students care about reproductive health care, women's right to choose, and the knowledge that women's health care is health care. We understand that no one plans an unplanned pregnancy, something that both private and public insurance plans will be forced to cast aside if the Stupak amendment makes it into the final version of the healthcare bill.

We established two primary goals in our advocacy:

  1. Ensure that the Stupak amendment doesn't end up in the final health care bill
  2. Mobilize college students at Harvard and beyond to start a movement advocating for women's health care, reproductive rights, etc.

We listened, planned, and are taking to the streets (or the T) Wednesday with coat hangers--yes, we're reviving the '60s imagery because we're scared, too, and refuse to let Stupak and anti-choicers bring us back to the dark ages of amateur and dangerous abortions.

Watch out, America's politicians, students are back on the streets. We voted last year because of Obama, and you have just given us a reason to vote next year.

Please join us!

If you are a student, feel free to adopt our plan of action and join us this Wednesday with a protest of your own.

If you are in or near the Boston area, come to the Harvard Square T-stop between 3:30 and 5:30 PM to show your outrage and stand up for women's reproductive rights.

Follow Stopstupaknow on twitter for updates.

Join our facebook group to garner support for Students Stop Stupak.

Check out our website and get ready for a student revolution to STOP STUPAK NOW.

Stay tuned for more action alerts and ideas, and in the meantime, please sign the petition to STOP STUPAK.