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Abortion Rights Groups Campaigns on Campuses Across Country

April 6, 1990

Undated (AP) _ An abortion rights organization on Thursday began a national campaign to register college students to vote against abortion foes.

Hollywood actors handed out leaflets at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., and at Columbia University in New York. Nearly 100 students attended a political gathering at a city college in Santa Monica, Calif., where they heard a call to activism.

″You are part of a generation that grew up without the fear that a crisis pregnancy, an unwanted pregnancy, could threaten your health in a back alley abortion,″ said Kate Michelman, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League.

The campaign planned events at about 40 colleges Thursday and Friday.

In Massachusetts, actors Judd Nelson, Howard Hesseman and Elizabeth Pena stood outside a subway stop and handed out leaflets to passersby urging them to register and vote pro-choice.

Between 40 and 50 people were registered, said Joyce Cunha, associate director of MassChoice, an affiliate of the national group.

The actors were emissaries from the Hollywood Policy Foundation Center, the non-profit arm of the Hollywood Women’s Political Action Committee.

Cunha said students were a key part of the pro-choice movement, which she said had been too complacent before last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed states to restrict abortion rights.

″This is a right they’ve always had. I think that’s part of why we want to help them to educate their peers to understand that the right is in jeopardy,″ she said.

In New York, actress Martha Plimpton urged 1,000 students at Columbia to vote against candidates who want to outlaw abortion. ″I had no idea until recently I had to fight for this right,″ she said.

At Santa Monica City College, Michelman said abortion was an issue in all 50 states as well as U.S. territories, referring to a restrictive law recently enacted in Guam. The governor of Idaho last week rejected an abortion restriction law in that state.

″The political landscape has radically changed in this country,″ she said. ″A woman’s right to reproductive freedom has been threatened.″

Students and college staffers who attended the talk in an art building lecture room indicated they had not realized the scope of the issue.

″I think I’m ready to be involved,″ said Tina Feiger, a college staff worker. ″But I think what we need are specifics, what races to work on.″

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