Corvallis Action Network creates nonprofit, takes action for reproductive rights awareness

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Madison Taylor

Corvallis Action Network event organizers speak to a crowd in Central Park in downtown Corvallis Ore. CAN organized this event on July 24 at to raise awareness for women’s reproductive rights.

Lara Rivera, News Contributor

Corvallis Action Network volunteers hosted a reproductive rights awareness event on the one month anniversary of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

CAN was first started by a group of people who had just met each other outside of the Benton County Courthouse and over social media the weekend after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

“We found each other because we were all passionate and upset,” said Melanie Green, CAN’s event coordinator. Originally, the creators of CAN were just planning on getting together to have a space to start planning small events. Today, the Facebook group has over 300 members, and they have a leadership board.

CAN volunteers met at Central Park — in between Monroe and Madison Avenues — to host the first of many monthly events to remember June 24, when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v. Wade. This event had booths for groups such as “Northwest Abortion Access Fund,” “Women Rise Up,” and multiple vendors supporting the cause.

Bonnie Jean, CAN’s community outreach coordinator and CAN co-founder, hopes that by hosting these events will motivate people to get more educated and know the importance of abortion being legal.

“Some people don’t think about it, they’ve never been through it or don’t know someone that has done it,” Jean said.

Through donations, CAN is supporting multiple different organizations. On Sunday, CAN raised money for the Northwest Abortion Action Fund, and one of CAN’s volunteers is recycling cans to raise money for the “Cascade Ace Project.”

“I understand that abortion can be a very scary and very aggressive topic for many, but it is the reality for over 50% of our population,” said Nicole Roka, CAN’s media outreach coordinator.

Roka says CAN is a “safe organization” that is “extremely inclusive,” and would like to expand the diversity in the group. Jeanie Schauermein, Northwest Abortion Access fund’s volunteer and administrative & accounting coordinator from Eugene, works with people who are having to travel from afar and are farther along in their pregnancy.

Schauermein was looking forward to meeting all the people, spreading the word and getting more funding specifically for the NWAAF clinic in Idaho. The clinic lost the ability to perform abortions and other healthcare procedures on the 30th day by the state when the bill was overturned which was on their 30th and final day since the SCOTUS vote.

A new change for NWAAF is that Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland is starting to accept NWAAF’s vouchers.

“It’s nice to know that we are a pro-choice state, but it could change in a heartbeat,” Schauermein said. “If the state turns red, who knows what will happen.”

Oregon is one of the first states to have no restrictions on abortion.

Darcie, the organizer for the Facebook group “Women, Rise Up!,” started the Facebook group for local residents. It blew up and now “Women, Rise Up!” has members from all over the world including Canada.

“Women, Rise Up!”organized a silent protest on July 28 where people can dress from anytime before 1974 and protest.

“The goal is to keep growing so that we eventually have simultaneous enrolling demonstrations, all saying the same thing; ‘Hell hath no fury,’” Darcie said. “It’s our rally cry, and it’s a warning.”

The next step for “Women, Rise Up!” is to have a “massive-scale” mailing campaign, with everyone writing the same message.

The mailing campaign will consist of multiple short letters to congress in order to “overturn the overturn.” Their goal with the letters is “we are taking our power back, and we are coming back,” Darcie said. “We are not going to let this stand.”

Jeff Obermann, an attendee, came to support the cause after hearing about it on Facebook.

“[I came] to show some support,” Obermann said. “We’ve regressed so far, it’s ridiculous.”

To get involved, CAN created a Facebook group and welcomes Corvallis residents to join.

CAN’s mission statement reads: “As a non-profit we are to ensure and defend equitable access to reproductive care in Oregon, and help those without access to proper reproductive care. We will not go back.”