URGE to fight for equity

Members+of+UTEPs+Unite++for+Reproductive+%26+Gender+Equity.+

Jonathon Duarte

Members of UTEP’s Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity.

Valeria Terrazas, Contributor

A new organization, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE), has arrived on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso and is looking for students to join their organization.

URGE’s goal is to educate and get young people involved in advocating for reproductive justice.

“(Reproductive justice is) when all people have political, social and economic power and access to resources in order to make healthy decisions about their bodies,” said Gina Lawrence, who is pursuing her doctorate in English rhetoric and composition and is a representative of the organization on campus.

In the past, the equivalent organization to URGE on campus was the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance. FMLA disappeared after many of its members graduated and others turned their attention to a new local non-profit community-based organization.

URGE is a national organization that has its own ties to FMLA. FMLA, based in Washington D.C., paired itself to Choice USA, an organization founded in 1992. Choice USA is now known as URGE after it change its name last year.

“They changed their name because it appeals to more things, they are not just doing abortion work, they are doing a lot of stuff with gender,” Lawrence said. “Talking about gender equity–they can do stuff with sex ed, fighting for equal pay, equal representation, LGBTQ–it’s more comprehensive, it can hit more issues.”

Locally, URGE is currently working with the city council to pass a resolution that affirms El Paso’s stance in favor of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act. EACH is a piece of legislation that aims to improve and increase the access to birth control and abortion, while prohibiting the interference of the government in the decisions made by private health insurance companies in offering coverage for abortion services. EACH is going to the U.S. Congress next year with the intent of repealing the Hyde Amendment, which limits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion to just cases involving incest, rape or when the life of the mother is at risk.

“Our city is actually very supportive with women’s rights and reproductive justice, which is really great,” Lawrence said.

URGE will welcome all the help they can get in pursuing their cause and, more importantly, they believe it’s very important to get young people involved because these are matters of their concern that affect them directly.

Students interested in being part of the organization may attend their next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 15 at the University Writing Center at the UTEP Library, room 227. The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Students who cannot attend the meeting may reach Lawrence through email at [email protected].

Valeria Terrazas may be reached at [email protected]