In honor of Roe v. Wade’s 39th anniversary, Trojans need to talk sex.
The misogynist fraternity email last semester was a difficult episode in our school’s recent history, but it did spur something refreshing: students speaking of their own experiences to other students. Women stood in front of Tommy Trojan and shared their sexual health struggles to find that they were not alone.
On Monday in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, we saw a similar evolution in the campuswide debate. Speakers from Planned Parenthood paired up with the College Democrats, Students for Barack Obama and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics to raise awareness of sexual health issues on campus.
At the well-attended event, students took advantage of the opportunity to tell their stories. In simply talking about sexual health, they discovered just how many students have had pregnancy scares, have had to confide in friends about sexual health complications or have known someone who has had an abortion.
These stories are not unique to USC. But we don’t talk about them much. In campus life, it’s everywhere and nowhere.
Planned Parenthood — many students’ last refuge for help with sexual health issues, free contraception and other not-for-profit health care — is under political attack. Because one of the many reproductive health services that Planned Parenthood offers is abortions, the organization has become a target for a right-wing attack on sexual health education. The war on science has opened a new front. The solution? Government just big enough to fit into your bedroom.
Sex education in schools, by the tone of most conservative dialogue, should take its cues from the Jonas Brothers rather than educators who know that abstinence-only education doesn’t work. In this year’s campaign, while most issues are drowned out by talking points about economic reform, the debate over reproductive rights sticks out like a sore thumb.
All the Republican [presidential] candidates oppose a woman’s right to choose. Some candidates have even backed a failed Mississippi ballot initiative that would have made personhood start at conception. The GOP candidates have played to the extreme base of their party by promising to appoint a justice that would overturn Roe v. Wade. This historic victory for reproductive rights celebrated its 39th anniversary this past Sunday, yet it is still under siege.
These politicians send the message to women that our bodies are not our own. We have to take back ownership by talking about our bodies in our own right.
It’s time we talked about sex.
Senior, president of USC Students for Barack Obama