After Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade, Anna Souhan, a sophomore at the University, refused to sit idly and watch her rights be put up for discussion.
Souhan heard about Planned Parenthood Generation Action, a branch of Planned Parenthood dedicated to making a change on college campuses regarding reproductive health, from one of her friends at a different university. When she realized that UNC did not have its own chapter, she decided to start her own, of which she is now president.
“I couldn’t really find any other organizations that dealt with (abortion), so I felt like I should start one,” Souhan said. “And then it just became the process of reaching out to people like advisors and my friends who might be interested in this and talking to the school. So it just ended up working out really well.”
There are over 350 PPGA chapters around the country at different universities with the main goal of promoting a network of young activists, educating people about sexual health and creating a lasting change on these campuses, according to the PPGA website.
Victoria Pittman, the field organizer of Eastern N.C. for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, works closely with six chapters of PPGA on different North Carolina campuses — one of which being the chapter at UNC.
“Planned Parenthood Generation Action is a network of young organizers and activists across the country,” Pittman said. “We have 20 chapters in our affiliate, which is Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, and we are continuing to grow.”
PPGA’s influence varies by campus, depending on the political atmosphere of the institution. According to Pittman, one unnamed PPGA chapter that she works closely with has been trying to get a reproductive health vending machine on campus but has received a lot of pushback from the school.
“The great benefit of being a Generation Action chapter on a liberal campus is that you have a lot more freedom and range to do really important work,” Pittman said. “We are not sure what that is going to look like on UNC’s campus yet but I’m really excited to see where they put their efforts."
One of the main goals for the UNC chapter of PPGA this semester is to create a comprehensive reproductive health network in N.C., ranging from raising awareness about resources available at campus health to awareness about clinics at which one can receive reproductive health care.