Standing beside the paths of the Drillfield in yesterday’s bitter wind, members of Womanspace were spreading the word about their most recent focus: abortion issues.
Womanspace, the feminist student group at Virginia Tech that works to empower women and raise awareness about gender equality issues, is sponsoring a variety of campaigns throughout the year, including the Clothesline Project, Love Your Body Day and currently, the 1 in 3 Campaign.
The 1 in 3 Campaign is named after the statistic citing the fact that one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Tech is one of 20 colleges hosting the campaign, a grassroots movement with the purpose of opening up a conversation about abortion.
“We decided to apply for this grassroots organization that uses storytelling to change the way we talk about women who have had abortions," said Megan Gisonda, reproductive rights chair of Womanspace. “In 2011 there were 92 anti-abortion laws passed in 24 states, so I think this is something very relevant and very important that we talk about.”
Those numbers are part of a record high of anti-abortion and anti-family planning provisions made in a year.
The major idea behind the movement is to change public opinion about abortion. The organization tells different stories about women dealing with the effects of abortion through various websites, their book "1 in 3: These Are Our Stories" and through different events. The 1 in 3 Campaign aims to create a more empathetic and supportive attitude toward women who have had abortions.
As the gubernatorial election approaches, polarizing topics like abortion will continue to make their way to the forefront of public discussion.
Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been featured in several attack ads that highlight his voting history regarding abortion and women’s issues.
“Ken Cuccinelli refused to support the Violence Against Women Act,” Gisonda said. “He’s trying to legislate abortion. He and another candidate are trying to pass legislation to have women who have had miscarriages investigated criminally."
"It’s ridiculous and I really think this all stems from the way people internalize abortion as a concept — like it’s a crime,” Gisonda said.
Womanspace will have a table outside of McBryde on Wednesday to continue promoting the 1 in 3 Campaign.