Most women may not think they will ever need emergency
contraception, but at last Friday’s Fem Fair on the Diag
nurse-midwife Lisa Kane Lowe provided students with a resource to
use in such situations.

While organizations like Students for Choice, MARAL Pro-Choice
Michigan and the College Democrats passed out fliers, Lowe wrote
advance preventative prescriptions for emergency contraception.

“It is a common misconception that contraception is
related to abortion, but instead it reduces the risk of unwanted
pregnancy,” said Lowe, a women’s studies lecturer.

Lowe, who wrote more than 60 prescriptions at last year’s
Fem Fair, added that the emergency contraceptives contain
progestin, a hormone which is also found in birth control
pills.

Students who wanted a prescription were instructed to fill out
two forms that described who can safely use contraception, how to
use it and how effective it is at reducing the risk of
pregnancy.

The Michigan Student Assembly’s Women’s Issues
Commission, Fem Fair’s main organizer, also had a table to
raise awareness about the March for Women’s Lives in
Washington on April 25.

Ashwini Hardikar, outgoing chair of the commission, said
although the four buses are almost full, students can still sign
up.

“The trip is for anyone who wants to go. You don’t
have to be strongly involved in pro-choice activism and you
don’t even have to participate in the march,” she
said.

Some groups participating in Fem Fair wanted to inform students
about their upcoming events and ongoing projects.

One popular table was the Men Against Violence Against Women,
which passed out white ribbons symbolizing personal pledges to help
prevent violence against women, and spoke to male students about
attending the Take Back the Night rally and march April 17.

“The rally is for anyone who is against violence against
women … but it’s also about women reclaiming their
power over their own bodies in a nighttime setting that is
protected,” said LSA junior Jeff Rezmovic.

Although men are invited to participate in the march that
follows the rally, Men Against Violence Against Women will also
organize a dialogue on violence and the rally as an alternative
only for men.

“Since men are there for support but are not reclaiming
anything, we thought we’d set up an activity that could
specifically target the male community and demonstrate that we
believe it is a man’s job to oppose violence against
women,” Rezmovic said.

The V-Day College Campaign at the University, which annually
produces the Vagina Monologues in January, participated in Fem Fair
and discussed the organizations it supports.

Ninety percent of the $20,000 raised from this year’s
Vagina Monologues was donated to SAFEHouse, the domestic abuse
shelter for Washtenaw County.

The other 10 percent of funds raised went to Casa Amiga in
Juarez, Mexico. Juarez is an impoverished area where many young
women and children have to take jobs to support their families.
Stewart said hundreds of women have disappeared while walking to
work alone and have turned up murdered days later.

Casa Amiga not only investigates the disappearances of the
women, but also provides resources to families so their relatives
do not need to work in unsafe environments. The international
organization provides safe modes of transportation for those women
who still have to work.

LSA senior Tamar Sanodze, who spent her time at Fem Fair touring
the tables, said she was impressed by the event’s theme and
the interest that passing students took in it.

“It’s awesome that people can come out and do this
to build a more responsible future for women here and around the
world,” Sanodze said.

She said she hopes the campus takes advantage of the
opportunities offered by Fem Fair to learn about atrocities
committed against women, both on a global and local level.

Other groups at Fem Fair included No More Mercury, Amnesty
International and Students Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality.

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