War on Women Teach-In at Purdue!

war on women teach-in

This coming week, several student organizations have come together to offer a campus teach-in on the recent “war on women” in America. Teach-ins are an effective activist educational tool, designed to educate the public about an important issue or group of issues and get them involved in further actions.

Because this event combines both important content as well as activism/activist tools – something you can learn from in addition to your service learning – I’ll offer 10 points of extra credit for those who attend one of the teach-ins and turn in a write-up in response to the experience, including what you learned. Try to tie in what you’ve learned from class, as well as the reading from Grassroots, in your writing about this event.


Indiana’s Mandated Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Rule

Because this came up in our discussion in class on Monday, here’s some clarification. Last month, Indiana passed a bill through the state Senate that requires women to undergo two trans-vaginal ultrasounds in order to receive a medication-induced abortion.

Please Note: a “medication-induced abortion” does not involve a medication called Plan B (the generic version is called Next Choice). Plan B does not abort a pregnancy but can be purchased over the counter (with ID) and taken the morning after unprotected sex (e.g., if the condom broke or slipped off or you neglected to use a barrier method, etc.)  Indiana’s trans-vaginal ultrasound rule targets women who might opt to receive a medication-induced abortion, which is delivered at the clinic and can be used to end early pregnancies, up to 10 weeks.

For more on Indiana’s double trans-vaginal ultrasound rule, read here.

Now, in your Feminist Social Protest papers earlier this semester, some of you wrote about feminist groups who used humor as a way to combat discrimination. Here’s another prime example of that. Virginia has been another in a series of states trying to rollback access to reproductive rights by requiring medically unnecessary vaginal probing. Here, one woman lawmaker fights back.


Fetal Personhood Amendments and the Legal Ramifications of Criminalizing Abortion: A Prosecuter’s Perspective

This blog post, written by a lawyer who has been prosecuting rape, child abuse, and homicide for over 15 years, provides a unique and seldom-heard perspective on recent arguments surrounding abortion, rape, and “fetal personhood,” amendments which seek to declare that a fetus is a person (such amendments also protect unfertilized eggs –  though not sperm, interestingly enough – granting them full personhood). Such amendments have also been behind some recent states’ decisions to criminalize women who have miscarriages.

Here’s a provocative quote from the post:

“…personhood for a cluster of cells means that abortion could equal aggravated murder. Really, do Republicans want us prosecuting girls and women for the aggravated homicide of their zygotes? Is that the plan here? Do they actually want to impose the death penalty, or will life in prison be sufficient to satisfy their…need to punish women for the crime of being sexually active? Of course, if the woman is guilty, so is the man who facilitates her in procuring an abortion – boys, if you take your girlfriend to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, we’re going to imprison you both for murder. It’s called a ‘conspiracy.'”

Read more: “Fetal Personhood and Criminalizing Abortion: A Prosecutor’s Perspective.”

Sending Support to the Young Woman in Steubenville, OH

Today, all of you filled out postcards to send to the young woman from Steubenville, OH whose case has reignited a nationwide conversation about rape culture in the United States. Know others who might want to send support?

Let’s see if we can send her 1,000 messages of love, hope, and support for her bravery.

Send a postcard or letter to the following address. Though the name of the young woman has not been released, the attorney general who prosecuted her case will receive your much-needed messages and make sure that they reach her at this hour.

General Mike DeWine                                                                                                        30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor                                                                                       Columbus, OH 43215

Last-Minute Reminders for the March!

Here are some last-minute reminders to help you prepare for Friday’s big event:

  • Remember to document your participation! Take photos of your delegation’s product and photos of your delegation at the march. These will be great for your symposium poster presentation in April. (They’ll also vouch for your participation in case we don’t cross paths amidst the chaos on Friday.)
  • Make sure you have copies of the march route.
  • Does your delegation know where to meet you/how to find you on Friday in the gym at the Co-Rec?
  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers to stay warm. Walking itself will help keep you warm, but it will be chilly. T-shirts can be worn over layered longer-sleeved shirts, and sashes can be worn over coats.
  • Remember to list any prep you do the day of the march under your volunteer hours!
  • The post-march rally will begin between 12:00 and 12:30pm.
  • Our class will meet on Friday afternoon to talk about your experience. I also have a great activity planned for us.

After the march, you’ll have until Friday, March 29th to turn in your forms documenting each group member’s volunteer hours, your group meeting dates, plus brief minutes for those group meetings.

Next week, I’ll hand out presentation boards and other materials so you can start work on your posterboards for the symposium on April 12th.

More Extra Credit Opportunities…and Chances to Learn Outside of Class

I know you’re all in the final throes of preparing for our upcoming March at Purdue with your community partners! But the next two weeks are also packed with a number of amazing events, including some visiting speakers, all of which are excellent opportunities to build on what you’ve already learned in class – which makes them wonderful extra credit opportunities.


Showing of the film “Irons-Jawed Angels” (starring Hilar Swank as Alice Paul), sponsored by FACT. This film showcases a reenactment of the historic Women’s Suffrage March of 1913. 6:00pm, LWSN 1142. Watch the trailer below:



Prof. Rabaka will give a talk on women in hip hop on Wednesday, March 20th.

Prof. Rabaka will give a talk on women in hip hop on Wednesday, March 20th.

Talk on “The Women’s Hip Hop Movement,” given by Reiland Rabaka, Associate Professor of African, African-American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Rabaka has published ten books and has been a guest commentator on major TV networks. 7:00pm, STEW 214. The BCC and and the Susan Bulkeley Center for Leadership Excellence are sponsoring this event.


Long-time feminist activist Zoe Nicholson’s talk, “The Provenance of Change.” 6:00-8:30pm, MATH 210. Before her talk, there will also be a screening of the documentary March On!, about the 2009 LGBTQ National Equality March.


Purdue’s own Assistant Professor of History Alicia Decker’s talk “Rethinking ‘Security’: A Feminist Analysis of U.S. Militarism in Post-9/11 Africa.” STEW 322, 7:30pm. Decker will speak about the effects of U.S. militarization of Africa and African women’s resistance against multiple forms of violence on the African continent.

Judith Ortiz Cofer’s “A Love Story Beginning in SPanish: Women’s Empowerment Throughh a Passion for Language and Writing.” LWSN 1142, 4:30pm. Keynote, followed by a Q & A.  Ortiz teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Georgia. Sponsored by the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence.