A student organization will host Mercer University’s first Abortion Positivity Tour Oct. 16. The event will educate audiences on reproductive rights and provide the community with resources, information and activities throughout the day leading up to a rally in support of the new women’s health center coming to Macon.
F.O.R.G.E, or Fighting for Our Rights and Gender Equality, is a club on campus that focuses on many issues regarding women’s rights. Former president and co-founder Emily Cuarenta said F.O.R.G.E is an “an intersectional feminist organization,” meaning that they are “looking at the different ways all types of women’s identities are discriminated against.”
Cuarenta and current president Emile Harris said they want to use F.O.R.G.E to educate people on the different aspects of every type of women’s rights.
The Abortion Positivity Tour is one way they aim to do this. This event will be taking place over the course of the day, starting first at a table in the Connell Student Center. The group will be giving away free shirts, raffles and other gear, as well as information about what Cuarenta, Harris and the rest of F.O.R.G.E believe means to be “abortion positive, as well as body positive.”
After the tabling event, they will be hosting a rally in support of the new women’s health center that is coming to downtown Macon.
“It should be really fun to celebrate (the center),” Harris said, “because trying to get the abortion center in Macon is a really big deal, considering that it is a low socioeconomic area.”
The leading reason women seek abortions is because they cannot afford the child, which is often not their first, according to The LA Times. Studies also suggest that women who cannot access abortions spend more years in poverty than other women.
At the rally, there will be speakers from several organizations and speakers from Atlanta and Macon discussing what it means to be abortion positive. Throughout the day, Harris said the group will be collecting signatures for the “Each Woman Act,” which hopes to ensure health coverage for every woman seeking safe, legal abortions and overall make it safer and more accessible.
F.O.R.G.E. is not only a club about women’s rights. They have recently become a part of the U.R.G.E, or Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity. U.R.G.E, Cuarenta said, is an “organization that educates people about their reproductive rights and reproductive opportunities in typically conservative states where they might not be otherwise given the information necessary to make safe educated decisions.”
One of F.O.R.G.E.’s main goals is to help inform individuals in the Macon area about these reproductive rights that they have and where services like abortions can be found, Harris said. She believes that “education equals advection” and that through F.O.R.G.E’s initiative both here and in Washington, they really have the power to make a difference.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the members of FORGE rallied in support of a new crisis pregnancy center in Macon. The article has since been updated to reflect that the group actually supported a women’s health center set to open this spring. The center will provide abortion services, according to The Telegraph. Crisis pregnancy centers are generally anti-abortion and do not offer the procedure.