By Casey Tolliver
A new chapter of a feminist group at Eastern is challenging preconceived notions of what it means to be a feminist. Feminists for Life, a feminist group that is against abortion, has chosen the Eastern campus to open up a new chapter.
Kari Cotton, co-president of the new Eastern chapter, said she thinks the group is different from other feminist organizations because of its anti-abortion stance and focus on pregnancy.
Cotton, a psychology and English double major, said the organization is also working to make child care more accessible to Eastern students.
Specifically, FFL wants free child care on campus for students, Cotton said.The Eastern chapter of FFL has attracted 20 members so far, Cotton said.
Cotton said the Student Involvement fair last week generated a lot of interest in the group. “Almost 30 people left their signatures, and since I contacted those people, we have gained about 10 new members,” Cotton said.”I am guessing we will get even more interest soon.”
Cotton shares the presidency with Jessica Boley.
The group had difficulty finding a faculty adviser.
“A lot of the people we asked didn’t agree with what the club stands for,” Cotton said.
FFL eventually found Dr. Todd Hartch, an assistant professor of history at Eastern, who volunteered to be the club’s adviser.
Members of FFL are writing letters to senators and state representatives supporting the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnancy and Parenting Student Services Act.
The Cady Act would establish a pilot program to provide grants to encourage eligible institutions of higher education to establish and operate pregnant and parenting student services offices for pregnant students, parenting students, prospective parenting students anticipating a birth or adoption, and students who place a child for adoption, according to the FFL.
According to the national Feminists For Life organization, FFL chapters see abortion as a sign society has failed
College-aged women have the highest rate of abortion, and women with some college have a pregnancy rate lower than the average, but still have the highest abortion rate of any educational group, according to the national organization’s Web site.
Of the women that have abortions, 45 percent are college-aged, or between the ages of 18 and 24. 58 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 who had already had an abortion said that a pregnancy would interfere with their education and career, according to the national organization’s Web site.
Cotton said she hopes FFL can change trends such as these at Eastern.
The national FFL organization and the local Eastern chapter both have the goal of saving people from having to choose between an education or a child, Cotton said.
The local FFL chapter meets in the Sullivan Hall lobby on the second and last Monday of each month at 8:30 p.m.