CSULB organizations take a stand for women’s rights

Feminist organizations on and off campus are firing up a new campaign to challenge two propositions on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Student groups from Cal State Long Beach such as the Feminist Organization Reclaiming Consciousness and Equality (FORCE) and the Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) have united with the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) to work toward protecting choice and equality through the “Get Out Her Vote” campaign.

The campaign is reaching out to over 100 campuses nationwide to encourage students to vote “no” on Propositions 4 and 8.

Proposition 4 was drafted to amend the California State Constitution by banning abortions for minors unless parents are notified in writing by the doctor. Allie McDonald, campus organizer for FMF said that it is a dangerous amendment that could take compromise a young woman’s right to privacy.

“Proposition 4 would take away a young woman’s right to access safe and legal abortion,” McDonald said. “It would require her to notify her parents for permission and then wait 48 hours to get the abortion.” The new amendment would force young women to go before a judge to determine if she is mature enough to deserve a safe, legal abortion without notifying her parents.

McDonald said the new amendment would force a young woman, who could be a victim of rape, incest or family violence to officially report a crime and report her family to the police. From there, another family member must be notified if she wants to have a safe and legal abortion.

“Most young women do inform their parents or a responsible adult about their decision to have an abortion,” McDonald said. “This campaign is threatening young women’s lives, putting their lives in risks as some young women in other states have risked their lives with illegal back-alley abortions in desperate measures when they cannot tell their parents.”

McDonald said the number one reason that minors don’t want to inform their parents is because they don’t want to burden them and they feel that they are mature enough to make the decision.

“The proposition is trying to force families to communicate and a law cannot make families communicate,” McDonald added. CSULB student Audrey Silbestre, a junior women’s studies major, is against Proposition 4.

“The law is important as there are a lot of young women under 18 who live in houses where they may be abused and they should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies,” Silbestre said.

Proposition 8 is seeking to take away marriage equality rights for same gender couples in California. In May, the Californian Supreme Court struck down the state ban on same-gender marriage.

“We (FMF) believe that the right to marry the person you love is a fundamental civil right and that should not be taken away, so we are going to fight for it,” McDonald said. CSULB student Maria Perez, a senior women’s studies major, is a big supporter of the campaign.

“Proposition 8 is important to oppose because if you support it, then your supporting a sense of inequality in our community, and how can we ever hope to attain actual equality if we promote the idea that only heterosexual people are allowed to marry.”

At CSULB, students from FORCE and WSSA are working together to encourage students to vote. The students are looking to recruit volunteers to help spread the message to other students with rallys, protests and banners to position at polling booths on the day and lead up to the 2008 Election.

This is not the first time Proposition 4 has been brought up in an election. In 2005 and 2006, Californians voted both times against the proposition.

McDonald said California is going to experience a big movement. “The FMF have already started campaigns at over 30 campuses in California and we are hoping to get 30 more.”