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UMN’s Students for Reproductive Freedom advocates for reproductive rights

The club partners with Planned Parenthood to educate and provide resources to the campus community.
Image by UMN SFRF (courtesy)
See how Students for Reproductive Freedom puts reproductive health at the forefront of their mission.

The University of Minnesota’s Students for Reproductive Freedom club (SFRF) mobilizes advocates for reproductive freedom by fighting to ensure equal access to health care.

SFRF is a part of Planned Parenthood’s Generation Action Network, a network of young activists nationwide who organize events on their campuses. The network’s goal is to raise public awareness about reproductive health and rights in their communities. 

SFRF President Mia Tranowski said the club has recently worked on sending emails to legislators about a health education bill they are trying to get passed.

Tranowski said the bill aims to ensure Minnesota’s Department of Education creates standards for health education curriculum. This includes making sure students are getting an adequate overview of everything health care-related, including more information about consent.

Tranowski added that grade schools across Minnesota are only teaching the very basics, which do not give young students an adequate overview of everything health care-related.

SFRF hosts various events on campus related to reproductive freedom and education, according to Tranowski. 

Ella England, a member of SFRF, said the club hosted an event where they made care kits in collaboration with Planned Parenthood for patients who receive an abortion.

“We made the kits to make sure they had food and heating pads to help the body regulate and feel better,” England said. 

Kylie Pha, a youth organizing manager at Planned Parenthood, said SFRF brings in Planned Parenthood organizers to club meetings to teach about advocacy, support members financially and give resources to distribute on campus.

“Our main mission when it comes to youth organizing is making sure students are advocating for themselves and have access to simple things that everyone should have access to like condoms and emergency contraceptives,” Pha said.

Pha added Planned Parenthood’s partnership with SFRF has generated a sense of community and empowerment. 

“When Roe was overturned, there was that sense of powerlessness that was there,” Pha said. “This collaboration really brings out such passion, energy and a hopeful light for folks where they can channel their energy in one place and fight for reproductive rights.” 

Timothy Johnson, a University professor of political science and law, said the state legislature made a law following the overturn of Roe which provides absolute protection for a woman’s right to choose at any point in a pregnancy. 

“That is probably where the biggest debate surrounds,” Johnson said. “The pro-life movement in Minnesota says this means there could be a lot of late-term abortions right in the third trimester, or even the days leading up to the potential birth of a child or fetus.” 

Johnson added that every state surrounding Minnesota has some kind of abortion ban, whether at some point during pregnancy or a strict ban.

“This leads to more people who are pregnant coming to Minnesota to get care, not just for abortions, but to get the care they need when it comes to dealing with the pregnancy,” Johnson said.

Tranowski said SFRF wants to continue being more involved on campus, putting out its message of supporting reproductive health and finding equal access to it.

“We want to find more ways we can support students and really spread our message out there,” Tranowski said.

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