Join us on a five-day immersion experience in Austin, Texas to learn, understand and advocate for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. This Alternative Break trip aims to educate and raise awareness about the history of period poverty and stigma, abortion rights, contraception methods, and current efforts to promote sexual health and reproductive rights in Texas. We seek to analyze the past, present, and future of the issue in Texas, and use the knowledge gained to further our activism regarding this issue in our future endeavors. In Texas, 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 12 and 44 live below the Federal Poverty Line, leaving 20% of females with limited or no access to healthcare and products to meet their sexual and reproductive needs. With Texas as the second largest state in the country, 2.4 million women in the state don’t have any kind of health insurance. This program will explore the progress and pitfalls of state and federal legislation addressing access sexual reproductive healthcare, and give students the opportunity to hear directly from healthcare providers and activists on the frontlines of changing social attitudes and policy. The historic overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022 has thrust this issue at the center of national conversation, and participants will be empowered to become agents of change during this critical time.
Dates of Engagement: March 11 - March 15, 2023
Estimated Cost: $1,000*
*Travel grant available on application.
Sulakshi Ramamoorthi is an International Studies major at SIS. She is originally from Rochester, Michigan and also lived in India for four years. She is extremely passionate about ensuring sexual and reproductive rights for every woman. She is a strong believer of the fact that abortion access and access to reproductive products to deal with women's health with dignity is a human right. She is currently the Girl Up Mid-Atlantic Club Leader and has been involved with Girl Up for about 2 years. She also works for Advocates for Youth: Know Your IX which is a non-profit and advocacy group based in Washington D.C. that is dedicated towards transforming policies and systems to secure sexual health and equity for all youth. Sulakshi hopes that this program increases understanding and awareness about the issues faced by women in regards to sexual and reproductive rights.
Hannah Krauss is a current sophomore majoring in CLEG and minoring in Public Health. She's from Princeton, New Jersey. She has always been active in service volunteering with organizations such as Operation Smile and Stand Up 2 Cancer as well as attending multiple abortion protests at the Supreme Court. She believes that this program has the potential to educate and spread awareness about women's sexual and reproductive health which is especially important in the post Roe world that we live in today. She is excited about leading the program, learning from professionals, seeing how reproductive rights differ in different parts of America, and building a tight knit community that will continue doing this work past the program.
Day 1 - March 11
- Arrive in Austin, go in the van to the loding
- Set up boxes with signs in public areas and stores (with permission) for women’s products and period products donations
- Explore the area surrounding the lodging
Day 2 - March 12
- Visit Bullock Texas State History Museum to learn more about the history of Texas
- Meet with an OBGYN based in Texas who performs abortions and talk about how much harder and unsafe it has become in our current political climate and discuss the impact of the harsh policies of Texas’ state government.
- Speaker from Every Body Texas
Day 3 - March 13
- Speaker from She Supply Texas speaks to the group about period poverty
- Package all the products we’ve received through donation and take them to Austin Shelter for Women and Children, the SAFE Children’s Shelter, and Front Steps
- Flo Party (Packaging party with Flo Code)
Day 4 - March 14
- Speaker from Planned Parenthood speaks to the group about STD education and Contraception Access in Texas’ political climate
- Phone bank and protest through email for abortion rights and the removal of tampon tax in Texas – partner with UT Austin’s Girl Up for this event
Day 5 - March 15
- Closing speaker: Girl Up Speaker
- Trip reflection activity and discuss what our biggest takeaways and most impactful learning experiences were
- Discuss next steps that we will continue pursuing to make a difference in other communities
- Return the van, and get ready to leave for the airport