The abortion debate is an old one; each side’s opinions and rationales have long been made public knowledge. Despite this, the pro-life argument was resurrected on this campus in the form of a several hour lecture-debate on September 15, in conjunction with an inflammatory display outside of the science complex which appeared shortly after.
The lecture unexpectedly resembled an instruction manual, teaching listeners to sway others to believe one thing only, “the right thing.” College Republicans President Nick Lukaszewicz immediately made it clear that anyone with a pro-choice sentiment needed to be reeducated, saying that “when students enter college, a majority are pro-life and by the end, they are pro-choice.” Instead of perhaps viewing this as a result of life experience meeting different kinds of people, or even a manifestation of further education, he insinuated a certain corruptness in college life—one causing such opinions to form and one that must be changed at all costs.
The arguments presented against abortion were well thought-out and backed up by examples, though circular in logic. This pro-life group is known as the Center for Biological Reform, and has been spewing this message wherever invited since 1991, even providing the keynote speaker, Mr. Mark Harrington, for this pro-life discussion. There were attempts made to equate the rights of born babies with those of ‘slaughtered’ unborn fetuses: if it is unacceptable to kill a toddler who is unable to feel pain (which they cited as one of the pro-choice rationales for legalizing abortion) for moral as well as legal reasons, then fetuses should not be aborted simply because of their inability to feel pain. Their platform is an assertion that all conceived fetuses have the same rights as born humans and that every human has the right to live, as professed in the Declaration of Independence.
It’s a nice sentiment. Especially so when faced with the alternately placed pictures of bloody abortion aftermath: small hands posed on money bearing mottos like “in God we trust,” the poetic juxtaposition of what the Center for Biological Reform sees as the unwanted and the ideals we hold dear in this country. Pragmatically, it is only that, however. The issue of abortion is centered around a right to privacy and self-choice. As much as one could say that making abortion illegal would stop the ‘murder’ of a group tagged as the ‘unwanted’, history has shown this to be false. People are still people, with thoughts and thresholds unlike each other. If you force a woman to carry a rapist’s child or any unwanted child for that matter, there is absolutely no guarantee she will not do something to harm herself or attempt to abort it anyway. This is a realistic albeit painful truth and while it is nice for their argument’s sake to pretend that these special cases don’t exist, they are real and out there.
Perhaps society is a little blasé about abortion. It shouldn’t be considered as routine as a gynecologist exam, and the statistics that the center reported were very disturbing—40% of abortions are repeat abortions. This could be addressed, and the gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses, even the video of an abortion being done that was shown at the lecture, probably should be shown to these repeat offenders. They could be used as tools to make people think about their actions and be more careful with what they are doing with regards to sex, which is a central concern of this issue that nobody seems to want to discuss.
What if sex education was better in the areas where multiple abortions are most prevalent? People would probably be more likely to use protection, the morning after pill, or other methods rather than abortion if there weren’t already discrepancies in the quality of sex education in this country. Oftentimes, the pro-life view comes attached to other views, some with religious overtones, that make their ideas even less practical to carry out. Their game plan for tackling abortion is to shut down clinics, which does not eliminate the desire or need for them and does not attack the closed-mindedness to talking about sex that can cause a lot of unwanted pregnancies. Repeat abortions should not be become the norm, but neither should daycares in high schools (as is happening in Florida) for students’ children.
The use of the pictures shown around campus (including pictures of Obama conveniently contrasted with baby guts and his own quotations, further showing the inclusivity of certain ideas with each political party) was controversial in and of itself. Should an organization be able to use disturbing images in such a way that it reduces them to yet another strategy for getting others to believe as they do? Their arguments centered around the premise that the existence of abortions should be an emotional outrage; they attempted to inspire emotional conversion to their beliefs by showing what an abortion actually does and looks like, never mind that most of the gruesome pictures were different pieces of abortions amalgamated to make a better statement. It went one step further, saying that people need these images rubbed in their faces to be able to recognize and stop this ‘genocide’ on the level of the Holocaust and the persecution of blacks post-slavery.
If you just read this and tilted your head at the word genocide, you had a similar reaction to most students on this campus when confronted with it in regards to abortion. Notes on the comment board near the display showed the dissent that students felt—and it cannot be seen as unwarranted. The definition of genocide includes within it the systematic destruction of all of a group of people. Last time I checked, no one was pursuing all pregnant women with abortion devices attempting to suck the unborn out of their wombs. Before these pro-life advocates try to reeducate people, they might want to look more at the holes that they are sliding around and figure out a way to deal with them. That is the only way to expect any kind of change, instead of expecting people to swallow a system of ideologies that is impractical and insulting.
BY ANGELA BELLOWS