At NC State’s Planned Parenthood: Generation Action club, students volunteer to help connect the Wolfpack with STI testing, family planning services and more.
Caley Kim, a second-year studying psychology and president of the club, said that Generation Action advocates for reproductive rights issues.
“We're trying to work towards a more equitable future where, specifically in regards to reproductive rights, people don't necessarily have to worry about [having] them,” Kim said.
Anna Hadley, a second-year in international studies and outreach co-chair of Generation Action, said the club supports Planned Parenthood’s mission by connecting students to safe sex materials and reproductive care.
“The whole idea of Planned Parenthood is partly just filling in the gaps of the things that the government isn't providing for people with abortion services and healthcare services,” Hadley said. “So anything like condoms, dental dams, female condoms and also tampons and pads, people shouldn't have to worry about having access to that or not being able to afford them.”
Kim said that, like Planned Parenthood, Generation Action does not just focus on abortions.
“We try to look at sexuality, gender identity and how that can all impact your access and quality of care,” Kim said. “In general, we focus on anything that relates to the reproductive system, not just abortions because Planned Parenthood is not just abortions.”
Many of the club meetings involve service projects, both related and unrelated to reproductive rights.
“We've done bags for homeless people that we can give out,” Hadley said. “We've done dorm storming where we've handed out candy and condoms to people in different buildings.”
Kim said one of her favorite initiatives was when club members wrote cards to abortion care providers in the area.
“The act of putting all of those cards in the envelopes being like ‘We appreciate you’ felt really nice,” Kim said.
Members from Generation Action also table in Talley Student Union once a week to provide safe sex supplies and foster discussions surrounding reproductive rights.
“Every table we try to have free condoms, female condoms, dental dams, that kind of stuff,” Kim said. “But also, we really try to work on misinformation and stigma around abortion and STDs and STIs.”
Kim said tabling also provides an opportunity for students to get information on abortion services.
“Not every Planned Parenthood clinic provides abortion services, like the one in Raleigh doesn't,” Kim said. “A lot of people don't know that. So when people come up to the tables, and they're like, ‘Oh, yeah, [I’ll] just go to Raleigh,’ we say, ‘You wouldn't be able to go to the Planned Parenthood in Raleigh. You'd have to go somewhere else.’”
Following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision, which effectively overturned the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, Generation Action’s advocacy efforts have become more rigorous, making an increased effort to work with candidates who support abortion rights during the 2022 midterm elections.
“[Our efforts have] gone from 100% to 110%,” Kim said. “When Planned Parenthood does events in the area, we help work those events. We did some phone banking for pro-abortion candidates to try to remind people to get out and vote.”
Hadley said Generation Action’s weekly meetings have also provided a place for students to air their worries following the controversial decision.
“We want to provide a safe space for anyone to come and hang out at our meetings and speak their minds,” Hadley said. “Obviously, the stuff going on gets people fired up. They're mad about their rights being taken away. They’re scared for the future. We want people to know that there are people who are there for them.”
Occasionally, Generation Action receives some pushback on social media, but most of the student body has been respectful of the club.
“We occasionally will get a nasty Instagram comment,” Kim said. “When we had the reproductive rights march last semester, there was a little group of anti-abortion protesters, and they did try to call us out on Instagram and start something, but we just ignored it. It's not worth our time and energy, and you are totally entitled to your opinion.”
Since the club is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, they are obligated to take the organization’s official stance of non-interaction.
“The official stance for Planned Parenthood as a company and for us is, if someone is obviously not looking for a good faith debate or conversation where they're willing to listen to what you’re saying, you don't have to engage with that,” Kim said. “It's more beneficial to go talk to the people who need your help.”
Kim said Generation Action’s most exciting initiative for next year is a proposed vending machine in Talley that would provide condoms, Plan B, tampons and more.
“We’re working on getting the vending machine since the Student Health Center isn't always open and Talley is open a lot more often,” Kim said. “We're also working on bringing back some free STI testing to campus.”
In the meantime, Kim wants students to know Generation Action is available to support students in all facets of reproductive care.
“Even if it seems like the government isn't going to give them access to necessary health care, we're not going to stop fighting for them,” Kim said. “And in the meantime, we can try to fill the gaps certain legislation is leaving.”
Find out more about Planned Parenthood Generation Action here.
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