Pro-choice students protest outside of Charmar

In the wake of the SGA Judiciary’s decision to grant Voice for Life (VFL) official group status, pro-choice students are stationed on the sidewalk outside of Charles Street Market in protest.

Seniors Caitlin Fuchs-Rosner and Sophie Grossman are using their bodies to express the message that it is the right of every woman to choose whether or not to bear a child.

The student display is inspired by FEMEN’s topless protests, as the students decided to expose their torso and breasts. The message “Your Body, Your Choice” is written across the front of their bodies. The message “JHU steps on women for $” is written on their backs. 

“The idea is that our bodies are not objects of deliberation, but that we can do what we want with them,” Fuchs-Rosner said. “It’s a sensational way to convey that idea.”

Courtesy of Ashley Emery
Courtesy of Ashley Emery

Grossman said that she and Fuchs-Rosner want to represent the presence and strength of pro-choice students on campus.

“Our primary purpose is that people know that the campus has pro-choicers. We think that everyone should have the right to choose if they have a baby, and when and how they want to,” Grossman said.

The students take issue with the proposed activities of VFL, not with its right to exist as a group.

“The problem is not that they want to express their views but that they want to use harassing tactics,” Fuchs-Rosner said. “The tactics they want to use could be triggering for rape victims, but the administration did not do anything about that.”

They are not part of any club or organization, but students who simply seek to express their views on the recent SGA Judiciary decision. The students are also handing out condoms to promote birth control.

21 Responses to "Pro-choice students protest outside of Charmar"

  1. Joe Grossberg   April 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    As an alumnus (A&S ’98), I applaud these women and their bold activism. When I was a student at JHU, political apathy reigned supreme. I am proud of these two for bucking that Hopkins tradition. (Also, I hope they put some gauze between the duct tape and their skin, because that’s gonna hurt, coming off.)

    • Caitlin Fuchs-Rosner   April 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      We used cotton balls, thanks! 🙂

      • Uncle Gropey   May 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        As long as the women protesters are cute, I don’t see a problem with this. By the way I think getting rid of the black tape would make an even stronger statement! (But again cute chicks only!!!!)

        • Felicia   May 1, 2015 at 5:47 pm

          You’re disgusting

    • Thomas Murray   May 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      I recall student activism in the 60’s and 70’s protesting a war in which combat casualties were less than 50,000. Student activists today who are protesting a war on unborn children that has killed 55 million (over 1000 times the number of Viet Nam combat deaths) against the prevailing cultural backdrop of the majority of American universities are the ones who should be lauded.

      There are many ways to prevent oneself from having a child without resorting to abortion. Yes, it is your body, but once you are pregnant, the body you are killing is someone else’s body, not yours.

  2. T   April 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Interesting application of FEMEN’s tactics. Although I have a serious problem with what FEMEN did most recently in their topless protests of Islam, which effectively erased the agency of Muslim women who choose religion and/or choose to veil (and I hope these student protestors recognize that as feminists and allies)—I think this is an example of a good use of nude protest, as the students are asserting their OWN choice.

    • Caitlin Fuchs-Rosner   April 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Femen’s use of nudity inspired today’s work (not any of its particular campaigns). Thanks for your concern, and thanks for your support!

  3. Maxwell J. Collard   April 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    “JHU steps on women for $”? I think that is a patently false comment. While I appreciate the activism,

    a) the decision to allow VFL to be a group was made by the SGA Judiciary Committee—our own Student government—and not by the University administration;

    b) I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest that the University, or the SGA JC, were bribed into making their decision to allow VFL to exercise their right to free speech, as guaranteed by University policy and the SGA Constitution’s Bill of Rights;

    c) The SGA JC’s decision made it clear that advocacy groups at JHU traditionally do not receive funding from the University itself; only the resources made available to other student activities (access to rooms for meetings, table at SAC far, et cetera.)

    I agree with your advocacy for choice, but please do the cause a favor don’t destroy your credibility by promoting overtly false accusations.

  4. alumna   April 12, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Bravo, girls. Bravo.

    • Caitlin Fuchs-Rosner   April 12, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      thank you! bravo for your support.

  5. liberT4all   April 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I applaud these two women for expressing their views in this manner. I also applaud VFL’s plans for nonviolent speech, including sidewalk counseling/”sidewalk interference” as some call it.

    I condemn the SGA for trying to suppress VFL’s speech. If they had succeeded, the two women in the article would never have protested, and these discussions would not be taking place.

    The answer to bad speech is good speech.

    • CAPT Mike   May 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Well said.

  6. Not sure   April 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with Voices for Choice on this one, but I’m not sure if it is a valid question to ask whether this is similar to what fears of VFL were.

    For someone who is a strict religious traditionalist, wouldn’t half-nude women displaying themselves publicly invoke a similar discomfort to the one that we all share in seeing graphics of aborted fetuses? It may not be as extreme, but I imagine it still might be a variation on the same theme.

    Regardless, I applaud their bravery and completely understand why they chose a FEMEN-inspired topless protest to represent this issue, and how it demonstrates the rights they have as women to control their bodies.

  7. Really?   April 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Wait, so harassing people by showing them fetus models is horrible, but harassing people by not wearing clothes is okay?

    I’m not against the cause, just don’t be a hypocrite.

  8. Pastor Bill Devlin   May 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Caitlin and Sophie – i am thankful your Moms did the right thing and gave you life and did not ‘choose’ to abort you. You have life-why not cut the unborn some slack? Pastor Bill 646 233 7279 NYC-South Bronx

  9. Win-win   May 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Im pro-life but Im also a big supporter of topless college girls. This looks like a win-win to me.

  10. Angela   May 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I think every legitimate group should have a right to exist. I am a pro-lifer and I would be disgusted if any pro life group took off their shirts to protest a pro-choice group being recognized by the college. I think it is a classless display, and I would think the campus police would have something to say about lewd behavior in public. Put your shirt on and get a sign.

  11. CAPT Mike   May 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I applaud your exercise of free speech, and wish you well.

    I’m uncertain why you might think that allowing others to express their opinion is a problem. You obviously strenuously disagree w/ them . . . AOK, it’s a free country, particularly with respect to free speech.

    While your choice of expression attracts attention, I suggest w/ respect that you will be more effective in persuading others (those who remain open to other views) through reasoned statements rather than exhibitionism.


  12. Human Rights   May 3, 2013 at 12:56 am

    The violence and inhumanity they support is not erased by whatever these chubby opponents of human rights want to flash.

    “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception; even under threat, I will not
    use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity;
    I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity”

    Hippocratic Oath
    Declaration of Geneva
    Following the Nazi Doctors Trial at Nuremberg

  13. lagarde   May 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Not really sure I get this. Voice for Life is talking to people, and you claim this is harassment. To protest, you take off your shirts. Do you intend this to be harassment? I’m guessing not, since that would just be straight-up hypocrisy.

    Someone explain the logic of this to me.

  14. Mike B   May 5, 2013 at 1:43 am

    It’s a child, not choice.


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