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North Carolina state university

As Americans today mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, college junior Tianna Spears is busy prepping to re-launch the Beautiful Pain Movement, a secular campus outreach program that helps students heal from abortion trauma.

Spears, 20, a business major at North Carolina State, founded the campus group after she helped a close friend through the emotional after-effects of an abortion, noting on her blog that “I saw her pain, heard it in her voice, saw it accumulate and drip from her eyes.”

“I saw how she struggled,” Spears said in an interview with The College Fix. “She would go for counseling, but they would be really religious or pro-life. That really encouraged me to make the group not affiliated with anything.”

The Beautiful Pain Movement is apolitical and non-religious. It fashions itself as “a loving community of understanding and acceptance among people who have experienced the same thing.” Its slogan? “Come as you are.”

The group, founded in September, will launch its latest five-week session Wednesday, the day after the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision. An estimated 55 million abortions have occurred since that ruling.

While many feminists and staunch pro-choice advocates often insist there’s no real harm or mental or psychological after-effects from an abortion, Spears’ personal experience through her friend indicates there can be emotional scarring.

The most commonly discussed emotions are guilt, regret and denial, she said. For the men, they felt like they had not done enough, and some were denied a voice when it came time to make the decision, she said. That’s where the group comes in, offering empathetic support.

“As a whole, a society, we are supposed to be strong, but handle our pain in private, behind closed doors, and bury our skeletons in the closet,” Spears blogged recently. “I disagree. People need people to get through difficult situations, no matter what the circumstances may be.”

That comfort is especially vital given the lack of counseling available for women after an abortion, Spears said. While women are scheduled for a follow-up medical appointment to make sure the pregnancy has cleared, there’s no support provided for the emotional turmoil that may follow, she said.

Outside the context of a person being for or against abortion, Spears said most mainstream discourse about abortion doesn’t come close to touching on what her group tackles.

She said she intends for the sessions to be a safe, open place where participants can share how they have been affected by abortion, and through the support of peers, determine their own steps to find peace with what happened.

By hosting the sessions on NC State’s campus, Spears said she hopes more students will come – though the group is open to all, students and non-students alike. As an official on-campus organization, Spears has received support from the university as well.

And that support comes at a crucial time.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank which compiles statistics on reproduction, abortions have been on the rise since 2008. Prior to that, they were on the decline. Suggestions have been made that the increase could be due to the recent recession.

In fact, Spears said finances have played a part in participants’ reasoning for getting an abortion, though she is careful to point out that it is not the only reason. She also cites lack of support and pressure from boyfriends or parents as indicated reasons for abortions among group members.

Spears said she hopes to further develop the Beautiful Pain Movement, with plans to file for recognition as a non-profit by May 2014. Further information can be found at the group’s website:

Fix contributor Jessica Kubusch is a student at UNC Chapel Hill.

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IMAGE: Dyanna Hyde/Flickr


Students in a “Sexual Communication” course at North Carolina State University recently hosted a sex-themed campus science fair of sorts, reports The Technician student newspaper in the aptly headlined article: “Getting a Rise Out of Students.”

There was the chocolate breast cake with whipped cream. The S&M booth. The sex toys display. You get the picture.

The Technician reports:

Aside from a good grade, the prize for the winning group was permission to skip the final exam.

While (one) group was the one focusing primarily on discerning myths from facts, other groups emanated similar sentiments.

For instance, students devoted one booth toward S&M, or sadism and masochism, education.

“There’s a lot of negative stigma around S&M,” Sarah Alston Trent, a junior in political science and a group representative, said. “It isn’t just about hurting each other, it’s more about an intimate connection. It’s more intense than a typical sexual relationship.”

… As people walked from booth to booth, representatives greeted them in various topic-specific ways.

Ravyn Tyndall invited people to rub lotion on their hands and then to blow on it, creating a warming effect. She gave information about the product, citing its low price.

“If you think about it, it’s just a happy meal, get it?” Tyndall, a senior in communications, said.

Tyndall’s group’s table was decorated with red candles and rose petals, two chocolate cakes in the shape of a pair of breasts and Hershey’s kisses organized to spell “SEX,” among other things.

The group focused on aphrodisiacs’ pertinence to the five senses. Tyndall explained how each sense could be stimulated to produce arousal.

On the same table were several pairs of dice and a small, red roulette wheel. They were modified to include suggestions for sexual activities and positions.

Do students really need to take a class in sexual communication? Nowadays they could probably teach it.

Click here to read the entire Technician article.

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IMAGE: San Diego Shooter/Flickr



Hours before First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the nation at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, she hosted a conference call in conjunction with “Students for Barack Obama,” with chapters at universities across the nation. Many student journalists took notes on the talk, and campus newspapers on Wednesday blared the First Lady’s message to students far and wide.

“Michelle urges students to ‘have Barack’s back,” declared a headline in The Technician, the student newspaper at North Carolina State University.

“Students for Barack Obama at N.C. State has been registering students and encouraging them to vote on Nov. 6,” the article went on to state. “Obama strongly supports the SBO’s involvement on college campuses and urged student supporters to join the organization to support the campaign.
“Barack’s got your back…we need you to have his,” Obama said. “Own this process, if you don’t get involved your word won’t be heard, because this will be the country you inherit.”

A headline in Arizona State University’s student newspaper, The State Press, declared: “Michelle Obama: College students key to election.” The article also noted that:

Michelle highlighted what Barack has done in the past four years concerning college education.

“Who is going to stand for you in the White House?” Michelle said.

She said the president’s support of the Pell Grant, his efforts to keep interest rates low on student loans and the implementation of tax credits for college education under his administration.

“You know how much is at stake every time you look at your tuition statement or student loan bill,” Michelle said.

An article in the Colorado University Independent noted Michelle Obama encouraged students to lobby their parents:

“Don’t forget to talk to your own parents, you never underestimate how much you can inspire them. This is something that I heard in the last election from a lot of older people who were not going to vote for Barack, but it was because their children and their grandchildren were so passionate about his presidency… they became Obama supports because of young people like you in their lives.”

A headline in the University of Michigan’s student newspaper declared: “Obama knows what it means to struggle, first lady says.”

“Obama asked students on the call to support her husband by voting, just as he supported students struggling to cover their tuition expenses,” the article states.

“Barack has your back … we’re going to need you to stand up for Barack,” Obama said. “We need you to have his back and that starts with registering to vote.”