Project 70 brings light to rights being taken away
Many people are uninformed about Title X and the changes being made. Three North Dakota State students hope to educate and spread awareness about these issues while showing those how it affects not only you but those you love as well.
In Perspectives in Women’s Studies (WGS 350), taught by Erienne Fawcett, groups of about six students choose a topic they find important. Emily Onstad, senior in human development and family science with a minor in WGS, Isaac Sullivan, junior in HDFS and WGS with a minor in honors, and Maddie Ziegler, junior in English with a WGS and honors minor, decided to focus on Title X and call their campaign “Project 70.”
This project has allowed many students to learn about issues that they did not know were affecting them. “I think we’re all both directly and indirectly affected by the things that all of the groups are focusing on — whether that is family planning services like birth control and STI testing — whether it’s sexual assault,” Onstad explained.
If I hadn’t been in this class and this topic hadn’t come up, I still probably wouldn’t know what Title X is and wouldn’t know that the changes are happening so quickly.Emily Onstad, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY SCIENCE
Title X is federally funded family planning. After being unanimously voted on in 1970, the program was put in place to support those who were under insured, had no insurance or were from a low-income household. Onstad explained that the program affects college students because it is a time where students may not be able to afford the charges and may not have their parents’ insurance anymore.
“Before I was in this project, I didn’t even know what Title X was,” Onstad said. “Not a lot of people know what Title X is, so you can’t change anything when you don’t even know that it’s being affected.”
Onstad explained that there are 40 million people who utilize the program, and many do not know they are using the service in the first place. Therefore, leaving a lack of knowledge to the changes occurring.
Title X is being defunded billions of dollars, leaving the prices of those services to increase per appointment. “If they (people using Title X) can’t get the appointment, then they can’t get the services they need, and it kind of continues that cycle of poverty that was supposed to change because of this title in the first place,” Onstad said.
Although the group does not take a stance of pro-choice or pro-life, Roe v. Wade is still in place, making abortion legal. Now, with these changes, doctors have a right to refuse information on abortion services. Even if a patient asks about the abortion option, the doctor has the right to say no and not inform the patient of all their options.
If the patient decides abortion is their best option, the doctor is not allowed to refer them to an abortion clinic. “It’s really limiting what they (doctors) can tell you, but it’s also limiting us in the fact that we can’t know all our options if we want to,” Onstad explained.
The changes being made are called a “gag rule,” so the student-based campaign is using the hashtag #DontGagMe to spread awareness. “Our voices might be taken away because of these changes, but there’s still a face to this,” Onstad said.
Because the political climate is tense, it brings more awareness to these issues, but many people still lack knowledge. Many people think that Title X is only abortion, when it encompasses, birth control, STI testing, pap smears and more.
The students hope to continue the project after the semester ends. They have messaged and emailed many representatives and politicians to become involved from Barack Obama to Hilary Clinton to Heidi Heitkamp.
Onstad, Sullivan and Ziegler are calling to action to resist the changes being made and ask everyone to help change these issues by calling your representatives, talking to people about the problems and having an open discussion.
“If there aren’t people talking about it, then things just happen right under our noses, and so I think these projects definitely open people’s eyes to everything that’s going on,” Onstad said.
Follow Project 70 on Instagram or Facebook for more information.