The Vermont Cynic

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VOX plans to raise public acceptance

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Sexual health and reproductive rights are frequently debated in government, with party lines drawing a massive divide on how and if the government should intervene.

Planned Parenthood has provided reliable health care for the past 100 years and is one of America’s most “trusted providers of reproductive health care,” according to the organization’s website.

“To me, Planned Parenthood provides resources for certain sexual issues, like having a child at a young age or getting tested [for sexually transmitted diseases] to remain sexually active,” said sophomore Jake Dahreddine.

In December 2015, Senate Republicans passed a bill to defund the organization.

The bill most likely won’t become law, according to a Dec. 2. Huffington Post article, but the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 still continues to spark widespread controversy across the country.

Launched August 2011, VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at UVM is a club dedicated to educating the Burlington community, advocating for the protection of reproductive rights and uniting and empowering those that support reproductive justice, according to the club’s Facebook page.  

The Planned Parenthood clinic on St. Paul Street in Burlington is pictured, Jan. 22. The UVM club VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood plans to sponsor events to raise awareness on campus for reproductive rights. RYAN THORNTON/ The Vermont Cynic

The Planned Parenthood clinic on St. Paul Street in Burlington is pictured, Jan. 22. The UVM club VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood plans to sponsor events to raise awareness on campus for reproductive rights. RYAN THORNTON/ The Vermont Cynic

“In the past, most of our work has revolved around spreading the word and starting a conversation about feminism and reproductive rights on campus, but recently we have been doing more political work, like phone banking,” VOX Presidents sophomore Tristen Litterio and junior Amelia Jane Hart Royce said.

“I loved the open discussions, awesome club members and powerful events,” Litterio said.

Litterio and Hart Royce said the club aims to connect students to Planned Parenthood, as well as sponsor events and collaborate with other groups on campus with similar missions.

According to the site, Planned Parenthood provides contraception to 2.5 million people, pregnancy tests to more than 1.1 million and administers close to 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases every year.

Three-quarters of the organization’s health care clients live on the equivalent of $33,000 per year or less for a family of four, well below the federal poverty level, according to the site.

“We are of course very disappointed in the [Senate] decision and feel as though it comes from a place of under-education, political biases and media misrepresentation,” Litterio said.

Jake Dahreddine said he feels that reproductive care should not be ignored, nationally or on our campus.

“I think it would be a mistake to defund Planned Parenthood…we should be defunding military spending instead,” he said.

“Planned Parenthood’s funding should be increased rather than eliminated, and they should even be duplicated in every college town or major city,” Dahreddine said.

Hart Royce agrees with Litterio and aims to spread awareness during her time in leadership.

“We will continue to provide information about Planned Parenthood and the services it provides and we hope to up our political action as the legislative season continues,” she said.

“We are looking forward to becoming more involved with the Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Team, the political arm of Planned Parenthood of northern New England,” Litterio said.

Litterio and Hart Royce said VOX is a safe space to discuss issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights.

VOX hopes to continue to welcome more members of the UVM and Burlington community, as well as provide a wider population with information and collaborating further with groups at UVM, Hart Royce said.

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
VOX plans to raise public acceptance