Meet the Planned Parenthood organization at FAU

Generation Action is trying to reduce the stigma around abortion.

You+can+find+the+group+handing+out+condoms+on+the+breezeway.+Picture+left+to+right%3A+Alex+Bruens%2C+Ally+Walchak%2C+Natasha+Roberts%2C+Photo+by+Alex+Liscio
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Meet the Planned Parenthood organization at FAU

You can find the group handing out condoms on the breezeway. Picture left to right: Alex Bruens, Ally Walchak, Natasha Roberts, Photo by Alex Liscio

You can find the group handing out condoms on the breezeway. Picture left to right: Alex Bruens, Ally Walchak, Natasha Roberts, Photo by Alex Liscio

You can find the group handing out condoms on the breezeway. Picture left to right: Alex Bruens, Ally Walchak, Natasha Roberts, Photo by Alex Liscio

You can find the group handing out condoms on the breezeway. Picture left to right: Alex Bruens, Ally Walchak, Natasha Roberts, Photo by Alex Liscio

Cameren Boatner, Staff Writer

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Members of FAU’s Generation Action chapter stood in the free speech lawn counter-protesting the anti-abortion protestors flaunting large signs of aborted fetuses.

They said the students need to know that someone was there for them to advocate and provide accurate information about reproductive healthcare. And having a leadership team of all female and gender non-conforming individuals makes the topic even more important to them.

That’s what the organization, which is a part of Planned Parenthood, is all about.

“I think people really need to see that on campus, and people need to know that there is an organization actually cares about them, versus that anti-abortion groups that are shocking, stigmatizing, and shaming,” said Alex Bruens, a political science major and president of Generation Action.

Generation Action does more than counter-protesting. They also host sessions covering topics like safe sex, drinking, and consent, among others. They say one of the biggest aspects of advocacy at FAU is recognizing that, at college age, your voice is important.

Generation Action teaches that consent is as simple as “fries.” Photo by Alex Liscio

“As young people, we have so much power. Our voices actually can make a difference. So we are part of this generation of people who are ready to take action,” Bruens said.

Natasha Roberts, vice president of Generation Action, says she was always an activist, but her advocacy took off once she joined.

But both Bruens and Roberts say that Generation Action isn’t just political, it’s educational first. Their organization is all about teaching students how to have safe, consensual sex — and on the Boca campus, reported rapes more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, the UP previously reported.

“On college campuses, there’s a lot of sex, there’s a lot of alcohol consumption, so I think I want to get this information to more people to make this campus safe. So there’s less instances of something that people don’t want to have happen, whether that’s from alcohol and sex to personal relationships,” Roberts said.

Bruens said the education they promote on campus is especially important for women.

“There’s a lot of myths, and there’s a lot of blame placed often on women in these situations, and I think we have to make sure to get the correct information and get education on consent, healthcare, abortion,” Bruens said.

Bruens, who identifies as non-binary, says a major part of this is poor sex education, and if it were improved, things would be different.

“I didn’t receive great sex education, and one of the cornerstones of Planned Parenthood and what we do is educate on safer sex and reproductive healthcare options,” Bruens said. “That’s what I care about most: access to education about abortion and everything else Planned Parenthood has to offer.”

Roberts tables for the organization every week on the Breezeway to recruit for the group as well as educate. Most of the time, students are respectful of the information, but other times, that isn’t the case.

Someone came up to her while tabling and wanted to discuss the history of Planned Parenthood. They didn’t believe it was really a healthcare provider. When Roberts was trying to explain what the group actually does, they were unreceptive.

“A lot of people get stuck in their political positions, and that’s really frustrating. There’s no room for education for some people,” Roberts said.

Regardless of how many people disrespect the group because of their political affiliation, there are students who appreciate their work. People sometimes even come up and hug Roberts while she’s tabling.

“When people are spreading factually correct information, they’ll come and share their stories about the time they went to Planned Parenthood or their other experiences … I’m glad to be a resource for people to do that,” Roberts said.

Roberts also said if you hear someone screaming “free condoms” on the Breezeway, that’s most likely their booth.

You can follow Gen Action on Instagram at @faugenerationaction, or follow them on their Facebook page.

Cameren Boatner is a staff writer with University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]