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Published:April 2nd, 2006 08:01 EST
Building a New Future with Choice USA

Building a New Future with Choice USA

By Melissa Austria

Jan. 22 marked the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion nationwide. Organizations like Choice USA are celebrating its remembrance by conducting “pro-choice” fellowships and institutes all over the United States.

Gloria Steinem founded Choice USA in 1992, and is currently the president of the organization’s board of directors. She is also a consulting editor for Ms. Magazine, an international feminist publication she co-founded in 1972. The activist and author has raised funds and written for several campaigns to help benefit women. Focusing on building reproductive rights, the group gives emerging leaders an opportunity to learn strategies and skills to advance women issues.

“We want women to know that they have the right to make their own decisions and it is our responsibility to educate and let the youth know that they have a choice," event organizer Rebecca Wiegand said. 

Choice USA has chapters all over the country, including California. They are associated with college campuses and high schools. The group is dedicated in designing a pattern for young women to understand in order to build effective strategies. With three upcoming events, more and more women are gaining knowledge about safe sex, contraceptives and legal reproductive health services.

The Midwestern Regional Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute is a weekend long training session that helps future leaders develop skills to enhance activism in their local community. The workshop will take place at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and travel, hotel and meal expenses will be covered by the institute for participants.

“The institute will teach people how to create campaigns and give them training on becoming an activist,” Wiegand said.

If you want take the next step in learning more about women rights, the application deadline is Feb. 28.

After a trip to the Midwest, Choice USA makes its way to the South for the Southwest Regional Leadership Training. The cross movement training focuses on the diversity of different groups and allows women of color in various communities to collaborate. Wiegand said the training creates a sustainable base of leaders in the Southwest and it brings women from other backgrounds together, not just one group.

With weekend long training with intense workshops, Choice USA honors young leaders and mentors who have demonstrated pro-choice movements in their community. The 2006 Generation to Generation categories include Student Leaders, Community Organizers, Communicators, Sex Educators, Fundraisers for Choice, Mentors and Allies.

The celebration will select individuals under age 30, and each category will honor 10 to 15 people. The nominations are not strictly for members but anyone who has provided the community with pro-choice movements, or who has been committed to spreading information on reproductive rights.

If you want to nominate someone or yourself, you must send a letter stating why this person should be awarded. You can also send a resume, recommendation letter, or any supporting material for your nominee. Winners will be chosen by board members, alumni, staff and previous winners.

Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 20, so if you haven’t had the chance to nominate someone you can always e-mail Choice USA with information about the person with their contact information. The awards will be announced in May in Washington D.C.

The organization’s mission is to promote and protect reproductive choice. They want to spread knowledge and information about rights by showing people how to be part of a movement.

“We want to hand down the legacy to our future leaders. We practice what we preach and we want to give the youth access to accurate information,” said Wiegand.

Being part of Choice USA, will give you the opportunity to know your rights, make precise decisions and become a leader …the choice is yours.

Readers Response

Dear Ms. Austria,
Re: "Focusing on building reproductive rights, the group gives emerging leaders an opportunity to learn strategies and skills to advance women issues."
On one side of a sheet of paper, list women's reproductive rights. On the other side, list men's.
Now please see "Jesse Jackson and Men's Rights" at
Jerry A. Boggs
Male Matters
Gender News & Views Ignored By The Mainstream Media and Most Leading Feminists