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Females for choice

Feminist groups on campus are trying to melt the public’s view about their organizations and the message they attempt to promote.

The Feminist Student Alliance (FSA) and the Pro-choice Voice: Students for Planned Parenthood (PVC) face a lot of animosity because misinformed views portray them as advocating abortions, said Megan Milanese, president of PVC and a women’s studies major.

“We’re not just pro-abortion,” she said. “Instead, we try to educate the public about contraception and safe sex practices to eliminate the amount of abortions that are needed.”

This year, FSA is focused on opposing the Stupak Amendment, which aims to limit a woman’s access to abortions, said FSA fundraising director Brittany Taylor, a senior majoring in women’s studies.

FSA held the third annual Rock 4 Choice benefit concert at Skipper’s Smokehouse on Saturday night to help raise donations for W.O.M.E.N., the Women for Choice organization that focuses on reproductive rights for women.

The organization relies on donations so that it can provide underprivileged women with the necessary funds for abortions, said Jeanmarie Aleski, president of FSA and a senior majoring in social work.

“Our organization covers more issues than just abortion,” said FSA secretary Lucy Ibadulla, a senior majoring in social work. “We fight for a woman’s right to choose, which has become an issue of human rights.”

Artwork from the USF Art Crawl and women’s studies majors was sold to raise extra funds, Taylor said. Local bands donated their time to the cause, and poetry that outlines support for pro-choice advocates was read between performances.

“We tried to match powerful poems with the most powerful people to read them,” Ibadulla said.

Rock 4 Choice fell short of the FSA’s goal of 250 attendees, with 118 people showing up. FSA donated $700 through entrance fees, raffle tickets, donations, band merchandise, artwork, jewelry and button sales, Aleski said.

FSA is collecting new and gently used bras for Support 1000, a movement to collect bras for underprivileged women.

Though the FSA admits that they face a lot of animosity, Aleski said the group will continue to focus on its goal – to promote choice.

“Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion,” she said. “It’s about women having complete autonomy in every aspect of their lives.”