The pro-choice ideology is not merely a set of beliefs. It involves actions that reverberate beyond a woman’s right to choose. Since abortion is a universal issue, the pro-life movement is also a worldwide endeavor.
Elizabethtown College, like the majority of colleges, openly supports Planned Parenthood (PP), the largest abortion provider, through Student Wellness. Student Wellness advertises PP’s information for students in the Brossman Student Commons (BSC), which is flooded with students each day. The two organizations have become very intertwined. For instance, PP stickers are posted around campus and speakers are scheduled to be at Etown for several events, all of which are sponsored by Etown’s Student Wellness.
There are countless pro-choice people, at Etown and beyond, whose abortion beliefs are motivated by a sincere desire to help women. I commend and share that desire. Moreover, it is imperative that we analyze the pro-choice view, because it causes confusion between the support of women and the offering, and sometimes even promoting, of abortion. Seth Decker, a first-year student, said that his pro-choice beliefs come into play when a situation involves rape or bad home life. “I believe in being pro-choice because there are so many broken families or children who are in bad situations because of unplanned pregnancies,” he said. “That is not the only reason why they are broken or not the best, but it is a factor.” His opinion reveals a genuine interest in ending suffering. He also discussed why he’s pro-choice in situations involving rape. “Another reason I believe in being pro-choice is because of rape. Rape shouldn’t determine the rest of a woman’s life and path,” he said. His reasons reflect valid concerns. Supporting women who have suffered through rape and helping children who live in poverty are essential components of my pro-life beliefs as well. Although his and my beliefs are different, our goals are the same. If someone can convince me that abortion does not end a new human life, I’ll become pro-choice too.
By legitimizing PP on campus, Student Wellness is advocating a women’s right to birth control. Many may believe that abortion is a woman’s right. However, they may not believe that abortion only relates to one woman’s right, health or body, because that decision affects more than one woman and more than one right. Basic embryology has solidified that determining the viability of the unborn child is independent of determining pregnancy, which is the presence of a new human life that is unique and distinct from the mother’s. In promoting a woman’s right to abortion, we are denying millions of unborn children the right to a first breath. We are depriving the next generation of their place in society. What the pro-choice ideology needs to clarify is that its position does not “free” one woman without condemning another. How can enabling women to decide to terminate the lives of unborn girls promote feminism in any way? Feminism is supposed to be inclusive in its support of all females, women and girls.
Students need to know the truth about abortion. They deserve to know what actually happens during and after the procedure. They are well-served to hear from people who have extensive experience with abortion and have become pro-life activists, like former PP abortionist Dr. Grant Clark. “Don’t believe what Planned Parenthood tells you,” Clark said. “They told me that the little babies who were aborted cannot feel any pain.” However, when an abortion is shown via ultrasound, it’s apparent that the child frantically tries to escape the forceps. Karen Shablin, a health policy expert who had an abortion, shared her initial thoughts of PP as well. “I thought Planned Parenthood was this great place that provided health care to women and students who couldn’t afford it, not knowing any of their history, not knowing who Margaret Sanger [founder of PP] was, not knowing what Sanger professed, not knowing that the federation league that was Planned Parenthood’s predecessor that Sanger started was actually put in place because the ‘wrong’ kinds of people were multiplying and the ‘right’ kinds weren’t,” she said.
There are pro-life leaders from all backgrounds, and it’s essential that students are informed about the accessibility of diverse pro-life resources. For example, by using a quick online search to optionline.org, women can find pregnancy resource centers whose workers will provide women with both material and emotional support at no cost. Project Rachel and Silent No More are organizations comprised of post-abortive women offering free and confidential help to other women who are suffering after abortions.
Since Etown values diversity, I think it’s also appropriate to inform others about the inclusivity of the pro-life movement. Karen Shablin’s lecture at Etown in March reflected the fact that post-abortive women, like those involved in Silent No More and Project Rachel, contribute enormously in both pro-life leadership and activist capacities. Clark performed hundreds of abortions, and when he came to campus, his story informed students about how many former abortionists have realized that their pro-choice ideology actually interfered with their ability to heal and help women. With hundreds of minority leaders, like formerly pro-abortion Dr. Alveda King and Dr. Bernard Nathanson, post-abortive Chai Ling of “All Girls Allowed” and many others, the Pro-Life Movement supports all female and male humans in a diverse, nonviolent way.
Let’s choose that, Etown.