Feminists rock for reproductive rights

Coupling music with activism, the annual Rock for Choices show brought local bands to students and donations to Planned Parenthood. Rock for Choices was held on Thursday, April 7 in Billings North Lounge from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. The lineup included Fridge N The Spins, Antara, the Slopsters, Mana Leak, Doll Fight and DinosaurScum. The event was organized by Feminists @ UVM. “The event was supporting a woman’s rights to choose her future by supporting and protecting reproductive health,” feminist club member and sophomore Sydnee Stieler said. The event was advertised with a Facebook event, word of mouth and fliers crafted by feminist club member and sophomore Anita Virmani. One hundred and thirty guests were accounted for on the Facebook event page. About 60 people attended the actual event. A little more than $300 was raised this year and donated to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Students came to show support, to immerse themselves in a musical atmosphere, to cut loose and to dance freely. “It was a little cleared out by the time we got there,” first year Nathan Hanna said. “But the music we went for was still good and the event was a pretty fun time, in all.” A donation to Planned Parenthood was suggested at the door. Attendees were given refreshments, buttons and Planned Parenthood handouts, including condoms and informational brochures. Although the show is an annual event, there was a notion of heightened importance to this year’s show. “The recent proposal of cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood made it all the more pressing to organize an event for their benefit,” Stieler said. “When something you care about is threatened, you realize how important it is.” Stieler expressed anger about misconceptions of what Planned Parenthood does being expressed in Congress. “I just read about U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota speaking in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood and calling them a ‘one-stop shopping center for any woman wanting an abortion,'” she said. “This totally disgusts me because it is totally ignoring the majority of the services that Planned Parenthood offers.” Steiler summed up her definition of choice that the event advocated. “A woman’s right to choose isn’t solely related to abortion; access to birth control, STI tests, counseling and other means of health care are about choice as well,” she said. Feminists @ UVM meet every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Women’s Center at 34 S. Williams St. “We have tea and conversation, plan events, do crafts,” Stieler said. The group is open to anyone interested.