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Campus Life

A Campus Minority: Students Against Abortion

At BU, students agree to disagree respectfully on a hot topic


Single children are hardly unusual: more than four out of every 10 American families with kids has just one. But only-child status has always haunted Sylvia Olejnik. “My mom had two miscarriages when I was little,” she says. Olejnik was so young that she barely understood what had happened, but 10 years later, as she was drifting off to sleep one night, she recalled a childhood moment when she hugged her pregnant mom.

“Something clicked in my head, and I was able to connect the feeling of loneliness that I had felt for a great portion of my life to me not having siblings,” says Olejnik (CAS’16). “I wept that night.” The conviction that potential family members had been amputated by fate led her to believe that life begins at conception and abortion is wrong, a conviction reinforced by Catholic school education in her home state of Connecticut.

Olejnik, president of BU Students for Life, was to be in Washington, DC, today with about 10 BU students for the March for Life, an annual protest of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to legalize abortion. Surrounded by hundreds of thousands of like-minded citizens, the group will have a moment in a majority that it doesn’t enjoy on campus. With no more than 20 members in her group, Olejnik knows her views are not widely held at BU, a point seconded by one student leader who supports abortion rights.

Yet for an issue that has created combustible, even murderous, situations off-campus, students in both camps say they’ve engineered civil relations and mutual respect.

“The binary of ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ has created an unnecessary divide that marginalizes a vast number of students who find their opinions somewhere in the middle,” says Isabel Elliott (CAS’15), codirector of the abortion rights group Students for Reproductive Justice. She attended a pregnancy and parenting resource forum put on by Students for Life in the last academic year. “It’s important to have conversations happening on all sides, as well as all of the areas between those sides,” Elliott says. “Students need to be given all of the information in order to form their own opinions, and then feel like those opinions have a safe space to be heard on campus.”

Gallup confirms that most Americans fall in the middle of the abortion debate. In 2012, 28 percent of those surveyed told the pollster that abortion should be “legal under any circumstances,” while 18 percent wanted it banned outright. Fifty-two percent favored keeping it “legal only under certain circumstances.”

While Olejnik says it’s “difficult” for anti-abortion students to disclose their views in conversations with peers, that hasn’t stopped Students for Life and those who disagree with it from collaborating. With help from former BU Behavioral Medicine director Margaret Ross, the group put together the Resource Guide for Pregnant and Parenting Students, which can be viewed online via the University’s Student Health Services site.

Sylvia Olejnik, BU Studnets For Life, Marsh Plaza

Sylvia Olejnik (CAS’16) of BU Students For Life during their Silent Victims vigil in Marsh Plaza October 30, 2014.

“She was amazing,” former Students for Life president Anne Pierce (SED’14) says of Ross. “She met with me and was so helpful in getting this packet more available to students.” For her part, Ross, who is pro–abortion rights, agrees that the project showed how people differing on abortion needn’t be antagonists. “You can be pro-choice and still want a person electing to hold onto a pregnancy to have resources,” she says. “I think there’s room on any campus for many different points of view, and this did not seem to me to be mutually exclusive.…I thought it was great that this group put together the resources.”

It’s also true that, in a state that has discussed how close abortion protesters can get to clinics and their patients—the US Supreme Court invalidated Massachusetts’ old buffer zone law last year—Students for Life has reversed past practice and shies away from group participation in such picketing.

“We feel like our club is not religiously affiliated, and it’s not politically affiliated,” Olejnik says. “And a lot of organizations that do stand outside of clinics are religiously affiliated organizations, and we were asked by them to stand outside of Planned Parenthood. And we want to take our stance secularly.”Instead, the group organizes events such as last October’s Silent Witness on Marsh Plaza, where members stood with tape reading “LIFE” over their mouths. That month, it also hosted Students for Life America’s national We Care Tour, which highlights campus sexual assault while advocating against abortion for victims impregnated through rape. Individual members of the group, most of whom are Christian and especially Catholic, are free to join pickets, Olejnik says.

Liana Genito joined Students for Life while enrolled at the College of Communication (she transferred to Emerson College last year). A rarity for the group, she was a non-religious student who “never relied on religion for any answers,” she says. Yet she found her religious peers in the group welcoming, and Students for Life “provided a new and improved image of pro-life for me.…They had logical reasoning, humble and gentle approaches and, best of all, the group didn’t just preach banning abortion,” but supported help for students keeping and raising children.

Genito agrees that BU is a tolerant campus for diverse opinions about abortion: “I feel far more uncomfortable to admit I’m pro-life at my current college.”

Elliott says that while her group and Students for Life “fundamentally disagree on access to abortion, there are plenty of areas where common ground can be reached. I think our groups get falsely pitted against each other.…Coming at situations in the mindset that there is one right and one wrong answer doesn’t foster constructive dialogue or activism.”

Yet if Gallup is correct, some otherwise anti-abortion Americans would part with Olejnik when she says abortion shouldn’t be allowed even in such cases as rape or a pregnancy-related threat to the mother’s life. The latter point is not academic for her, she says; she had a friend in elementary and middle school whose pregnant mother foreswore chemo for her cancer—and died—to protect her fetus. “They have this beautiful girl…and then her mom passed away,” Olejnik says. “I’ve seen these actual people having to choose life or not.”

Students for Life’s “pro-life” platform includes other planks, opposition to the death penalty and physician-assisted suicide among them. Olejnik’s anti–death penalty stance is as emotionally fraught as her abortion views: family members of her high school best friend were murdered, she says. “I saw the hurt that he was going through.

Students who oppose abortion but think it should be legal under exceptional circumstances, or are in favor of the death penalty, Olejnik says, would still be welcomed to join Students for Life. “We’re all learning.…We’re trying to learn the reasons why we say abortion is wrong in all cases. That’s education, which is what we’re trying to do.”

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

51 Comments on A Campus Minority: Students Against Abortion

  • Cynthia on 01.22.2015 at 5:46 am

    Thank you for this refreshing article. I am a distance education student with BU who shares these Pro-Life views. It is comforting to know that these students are being embraced while taking a welcoming stance to include students who may not have a religious background.

  • anonymous on 01.22.2015 at 7:49 am

    An issue with regards to the language of this piece: To say that someone is “against abortion” is a little bit misleading. That implies that the other side is “for abortion,” as if we loved them. A much less misleading terminology is “for reproductive freedom/choice” vs. “against reproductive freedom/choice.” Thank you for this article.

    For those interested, here is a fascinating article from an Australian philosopher on the different ways that we conceive of pregnancy: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/the-metaphysics-of-pregnancy/5950930

    • Alumnus on 01.22.2015 at 8:39 am

      Thank you for picking up on this nuance. It is a very important distinction, and one that I think BU Today should clarify in the article.

    • An un-aborted adoptee speaks on 01.22.2015 at 8:40 am

      From my perspective this is a black and white issue. There is no grey area when it comes to elective abortion because if my mother had elected to have one I would not be here today. I would not be be half here, partially here and the decision she made could never be reversed.

      • A Concerned Reader on 01.22.2015 at 10:41 am

        Here’s the thing, though. There’s a very good reason as to why it is called Pro-Choice. It’s all about allowing people to choose what they want to do. Yes, it is sad to know that fetuses are being aborted on a daily basis, but what would be more sad would be knowing that some of these babies would’ve been born into a situation where the parents can’t properly care for them, or choose not to properly care for them. Of course, not all parents are like that, but there are many unintended pregnancies that lead to children having very bad childhoods.

        If the woman that was mentioned above didn’t choose to give up chemo, and decided to give up her baby, would she be alive today? None of us knows, but the Pro-Choice view would be “it is her own decision.” It’s her body, her health, and her life.

        Yes, abortion is not the only option, as giving up the child for adoption is an answer, but at the same time, there are plenty of women that cannot stop working just so that they can go through pregnancy, and the stress of working would only increase the chances of miscarriage.

        But in the end, I suppose it’s all their choice. I’m just concerned as to what they’re saying to victims of rape that have been impregnated from the act, because there shouldn’t be any pressure on any of them to keep children that only remind them of what had happened.

        • Anonymous on 01.22.2015 at 3:04 pm

          To “A Concerned Reader”: I completely agree. You put that together very nicely. Thank you for that.

      • An un-aborted person speaks on 01.23.2015 at 10:08 am

        I guess you were offended? I’m curious why you would attempt to silence an opinion?

    • Giorgos on 01.22.2015 at 8:51 am

      The proposed terminology misleadingly implies that one side wants to restrict freedoms. It is nearer to the truth to say that, on this issue, they hold the opinion that there is not a morally just freedom to be had at all. You seem to be of the opinion that there is, and the terminology you propose merely flips the misleading label to the other side. I think it would be better if people could avoid making false dichotomies of this issue altogether, as this article insightfully discusses, because most cases have far too many variables, all kinds of different circumstances and moral agents, for there to be

      • ProudAlumna on 01.22.2015 at 9:35 am

        i love this response, Giorgos! well said.

      • An un-aborted adoptee speaks on 01.22.2015 at 10:29 am

        Life and death are not a continuum; you are either dead or alive. Any unborn person who is electively aborted is deprived of their life without due process. Sadly, we live in a society wherein the cognitive dissonance associated with the immorality of elective abortion is too simply solved by saying “the fetus cannot feel and therefore has no skin in the game”. This may legal but that does not make it is moral or ethical.

        • A Concerned Reader on 01.22.2015 at 10:44 am

          Yes, but at the same time, there are way too many instances in which the women themselves, being living beings that are actually proven to be alive and have feelings and emotions and much more complexity, are put OUT of this decision of choosing to abort or keep the child that it’s best to allow them to have their choice and respect what they choose.

          • An un-aborted adoptee speaks on 01.22.2015 at 2:22 pm

            I guess per your logic it is OK to put the genetically unique person who is being deprived of their life out of the decision since they do not yet have a voice anyway. And beside’s (with tongue still in cheek) we would never want to inconvenience or hurt the feelings of a living person by encouraging them to be responsible for the life of the actual innocent victim in this conversation now would we?

        • Giorgos on 01.22.2015 at 3:31 pm

          There may well be no continuum between “dead” and “alive,” but arguments from “personhood” are futile. They rely on points of time in development at which a mass of cells (or one cell) is seemingly arbitrarily termed to be a human being. This is why I would try to look for a different angle from which to approach the issue. Instead of focusing on the morality of abortion itself, I would try and consider the character of the moral agents involved. What are the parents thinking? Where are they in their lives? Are they ready for children? If they are not, and the child is born, will there be someone from their families to take care of her? Will she instead be put up for adoption? Considering our answers to these and other questions, and in the unique circumstances surrounding their case, what does the parental decision say about them, and are those things in accordance with virtue? We may never be able to know if abortion is or is not morally just in the framework of consequentialism (utilitarianism) or deontology, but we can think about it from a virtue ethics perspective by considering questions like these. One potential problem about this mode of thinking is that it necessitates a case-by-case approach that many who stand on either side of the issue are unwilling to accept.

          • SR on 01.22.2015 at 6:03 pm

            Actually, from the perspective of consequentialism I think we can make a good case for legal abortion being an ethical good, on at least two grounds: maternal health, and social benefits.

            Some women will still pursue abortions even if the procedure is illegal. We know this because it happens in other countries and because it happened in the United States prior to 1973. Illegal abortions can have horrific complications and women experiencing these complications are much less likely to get medical attention.

            The social argument is more controversial, but there is a fair amount of evidence that reducing the number of unwanted babies born into communities with low resources improves the conditions in those communities. As a famous example, the book Freakonomics advances the hypothesis that the Roe v. Wade decision indirectly led to the widespread reduction in crime across the United States observed in the 1980s and 1990s. Additionally, a woman who chooses to terminate her pregnancy has saved herself an estimated quarter million dollars over the ensuing 18 years. (Source: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2014/08/0179.xml) This savings can be spent on education, to start a business, to invest in the community, and is likely overall to improve the economic situation of the family and surrounding community.

    • Justice on 01.22.2015 at 11:58 am

      Anonymous, I could not agree more with your comment. I know several high school students and one colleage student who became pregnant. One had an abortion, some married the fathers, some did not marry and kept the child, and some gave the child up for adoption. No choice was easy, no life was simple from that point forward. I know what I think I would do if I was pregnant, situation, but honestly, I don’t know what I would actually do when confronted by the choice.

    • An Offended Person on 01.22.2015 at 3:57 pm

      Seriously, I find it’s becoming more and more difficult to talk in this era: It seems the traditional expression is always offending a small portion of population: “homosexuals”(LGBT), “Muslim Terrorists”(Religious Extremists),”French Fries”(Freedom Fries). Why don’t we just ask the entire nation to join North Korea, so we can simply address each other as “comrade” and no one would ever get offended? If you’re not happy with the term, I believe the glorious leader would consider deporting you to Miami.

      • SR on 01.22.2015 at 5:42 pm

        The preferred term is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    • Aliana on 01.22.2015 at 9:13 pm

      I disagree with this, only because your language can be misleading too. These people are specifically against abortion. If you say they are against reproductive freedom, then you could say the same thing about the vast majority of the population. Only a small percentage believe in abortion without restriction. These people just believe in even more restriction. So there are plenty of people that are pro choice that would fall into the category of being against complete reproductive freedom.

  • Chris on 01.22.2015 at 8:08 am

    As long as they’re protesting at Marsh and not harassing women trying to enter clinics, whatever.

    • An un-aborted adoptee speaks on 01.22.2015 at 8:42 am

      I am not a “whatever”. I am a whole person and if I had been aborted I would not be here to tell you how hurtful your response is to me.

      • Chris on 01.22.2015 at 12:47 pm

        “Whatever” here meant “I don’t care if they protest as long as they’re not harassing women.” I’m not sure how you got “people don’t matter”, but that’s not what I meant.

      • An Offended Person on 01.22.2015 at 4:03 pm

        Abortion is a choice, a choice means freedom. Whoever against abortion can reserve their opinion but trying to get abortion banned is an act of trying to strip away freedom. I respect your position, but have you thought about others? About those who accidentally had kids but couldn’t afford to feed or to give them a better future? That’s terrible for both parents and the kids. That’s irresponsible.

    • Jeff E, on 01.22.2015 at 10:41 am

      I see, Chris. So long as the opposition to this barbaric practice is configured exactly as its proponents wish, then the opposition is okay. It’s a small-minded and illogical way of looking at things.

      • Chris on 01.22.2015 at 1:41 pm

        No, the opposition’s still misguided at best, but as long as they’re willing to remain impotent, I don’t care.

  • Jen on 01.22.2015 at 9:35 am


    It is lovely that this woman chose to give up her life for her unborn child, but it seems as though Olejnik seems that women should not be afforded that choice. What if that woman had wanted to try to save her own life, and watch her already-born child grow up? Would Olejnik condemn her for that choice and have the right to make it taken away from her? How is that pro-life?

    • Anonymous on 01.22.2015 at 11:12 am

      I agree, Jen, and was struck by this inconsistency in Olejnik’s thought as I read the article. She praises the mother for *choosing* to sacrifice herself for her child, but if legislation that Olejnik desires is passed, she would not have been able to make that sacrifice, but instead would have been *forced* to die to bear this child. What is pro-life about killing the mother to save the child?

      To further drive that analogy home… Now, with the mother’s choice, the child will likely grow up loving the mother for her sacrifice, her choice. But if the government had taken away that choice, had forced the mother to die for this child, I cannot imagine her growing up any way but resentful of both herself and a system that forced her mother to die….

      • for women's reproductive rights on 01.22.2015 at 3:48 pm

        I agree with both Jen and the earlier post by Anonymous, both of whom make valid points and shed light on the inconsistencies within Olejnik’s pro-life stance.

        While it’s important for students on campus to explore complex issues and feel safe in exercising their freedom of speech, BU Students For Life cannot claim to be apolitical and at the same time attend a March for Life protest of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to legalize abortion. Special-interest groups influence federal and state policies, which impact women’s rights and access to health care services such as abortion. This is an undeniably politically-charged issue.

        What can get lost in the debate is the fact that pregnancy and decisions regarding a woman’s health as well as the health of a fetus are deeply personal and oftentimes complicated. Women undergo abortions for all different reasons. For example, women may choose an abortion when a prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormality is present, and especially when the chromosomal defect will eventually lead to fetal demise.

        It’s important to underscore that not all women have abortions because their child is unwanted. When a woman who is looking forward to motherhood and is given a prenatal diagnosis with a poor fetal outcome, the last thing that she needs is an outsider’s opinion about rightness or wrongness – someone else’s moral views about her body and her child. She needs the expert knowledge of medical professionals and access to health care options in order to be able to make a decision that she can live with, a decision that’s best for her and her unborn child, and one that no one else should have the right to make.

        • Students for Life member on 01.22.2015 at 7:45 pm

          Our club is not apolitical. It IS concerned with political issues, but is NOT affiliated with a particular party. You can be a Democrat and be pro-life or be a Republican and be pro-life, etc.

      • Denis on 01.23.2015 at 7:57 am

        First of all, there are no inconsistencies in her argument. Everything is a choice. No one is forcing you to do anything. You choose to keep your child or offer him/her for adoption. We’re not seeking banning abortion to force women to seek their children (there’s no love in that). Instead, we are trying to promote the truth about unborn life and to make sure the laws reflect this and provide an equal basic opportunity for all to live.

        Now this raises another question about unborn life. First, let me ask you: what mother would not sacrifice anything, including her own life, for her already-born children? Would the mother sacrifice one of her children for her own health? Going from there, at what point does this human organism that shares half your DNA become your child? Logically, if he/she is your child, you would seek the best for that child, regardless of its consequences to yourself. I will leave it at that and let you think about the last point.

        • Jen on 01.28.2015 at 4:05 pm

          “Logically, if he/she is your child, you would seek the best for that child, regardless of its consequences to yourself.” What is logical about that? If I, tomorrow, found out that I was pregnant and that in bringing that pregnancy to term, I would die in the process, I can ASSURE you I would take advantage of my right to a safe and legal abortion, and if I did not have that right, I would probably get an illegal and more dangerous one. Which is not to say that some, many, maybe even most women would not make that choice – but that is the whole point of a woman’s right to CHOOSE. To borrow a phrase from you, at what point does this human organism that shares half my DNA supersede my own right to life?

          In response to your so-called “choice” between keeping your child or giving it up for adoption: maybe you could ask some of the 130 THOUSAND children currently in foster care waiting to be adopted in the US what they think about that. Unless you have or are planning on personally adopting one of those children, or the hordes more that you apparently think should be consigned to such a fate, I imagine many of them would tell you to shove it. (Source: Adopt America Network.)

          • IJS on 06.12.2015 at 2:20 pm

            There are not 130 thousand infants in foster care. There are 130 thousand children, most of whom have been neglected and/or abused from birth by mothers who could not be mothers. These children’s brains are under-developed and hard-wired for fear and mistrust because of in utero biology and life experience once born. The law and single mothers treat babies like baby dolls who can wait for mom’s to get off drugs and alcohol or grow up. They can’t.

  • Nick on 01.22.2015 at 9:50 am

    I think what’s left out of this discussion is who is primarily affected by abortion. A woman spends 9 months carrying a fetus, up to a year or more breast feeding and then two decades raising that child. The onus is put disproportionally on women. Banning abortion at any stage is effectively reinforcing conservative gender roles, which are highly unequal.

    Men are free, and encouraged, to pursue a career even when it means leaving a stay-at-home wife to care for children. It’s not as acceptable for women to do this. If abortion is made illegal, America will lose much of the progress it has made for women in the past century.

    • asdf on 01.26.2015 at 11:26 am

      Do you sincerely believe that in 2015, women are not encouraged, if not more so than their male counterparts, to pursue a career?

      Abortion is a complex, multi-faceted issue and attempting to distill it into the category of “female progress” minimizes the role of the other parties involved (the father and the unborn fetus), who are equally as deserving of a voice in the conversation.

  • Miglia on 01.22.2015 at 10:24 am

    I appreciate this organization’s passion towards their beliefs and applaud them for standing up to what they believe in. I believe in pro-choice, that it is a women’s decision to decide if she is ready and ABLE to care for another human being. Wether a woman decides to abort her pregnancy or not is none of my business nor should it be. Abortion isn’t the problem, unwanted children is. So, maybe a different approach would be educating the public on contraception and avoiding unplanned pregnancies to begin with.

  • Brandi on 01.22.2015 at 10:52 am

    I can respect the fact that this organization I choosing to take their stance without harassing others who choose to take a different stance. I’m glad to see that finally 2 organizations with differencing views can co-exist on campus and have meaningful conversations that make others feel comfortable to share their stories as opinions. I am not “pro-abortion”, but rather “pro-choice” because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to force-feed someone else their morals based on a belief system that they may not share with you.

  • Mo on 01.22.2015 at 10:56 am

    Bravo and prayers to these BU students for life , taking a stand for what they believe in.

  • DB on 01.22.2015 at 11:33 am

    Being “respectful” means dropping emotionally charged language designed to demonize your opposition, like calling it “murder,” since “murder” is the DELIBERATE taking of human life and if someone doesn’t believe that a fetus is a human life, terminating the fetus obviously doesn’t qualify as being “murder.” This article doesn’t say if the anti-abortionists stay away from that kind of language, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they DO avoid using that kind of language…I hope I don’t turn out to be wrong for giving them that benefit of the doubt.

    I’m glad to hear they don’t picket Planned Parenthood and try to intimidate and humiliate people who are going inside. That is a disgraceful practice that couldn’t be more disrespectful. Those who do it should be ashamed of themselves. I wonder how those who do it would feel if they showed up for Church on Sunday and found a bunch of protesters lining the walkway to the front door hurling insults at them.

    Anyway, I honestly don’t see how anybody can be “in the middle” on an issue like this. You either believe women have reproductive rights or you don’t. There’s no qualifying it, there’s no set of conditions that should have to be met, it’s a binary yes/no question. If you believe “they should have those rights only under these circumstances that I’ve selected” then you are anti-choice, PERIOD. You might have convinced yourself that you’re being reasonable, but you’re not.

  • ED on 01.22.2015 at 12:13 pm

    Many birth control methods are misleading. If conception occurs when an egg and sperm meets, then certain birth control plans don’t prevent that. It just kills the zygote or fetus. It is important for a woman to inquire the right information from her doctor. Some women choose to be ignorant because they prefer to have fun. Yet, no one wants to take responsibilities. There really is no price for a human life. If a woman and a man cannot take their responsibilities, There is a simple solution to all this confusion, remove your uterus. A child should not have to pay for the price! There are those women who are raped. There are women who are prostitutes. The decisions is really theirs according to their faith. God created us with free will. I am intrigued by Young women and men making their voices heard!!

    • Anonymous on 01.23.2015 at 8:29 am

      Please tell me what contraceptive method (besides Plan B which isn’t what you’re talking about) “kills” the zygote/fetus? I think it is you who have been mislead.

    • Jose Artigas on 01.23.2015 at 7:16 pm

      So, ED, you are saying that women & men who are their partners too) must become parents & accept all that it implies, as punishment for irresponsibility? Perhaps you would deny this, but it remains a strong undercurrent in the rhetoric of anti-abortion.

  • Denis on 01.22.2015 at 12:17 pm

    It is very refreshing to see this Students for Life group being recognized. As a BU alumnus and former member of this group, it is good to see an accurate account of the group. I am glad that there is greater opportunity for healthy discussion of this divisive issue. I have enjoyed the witness that this group has provided about the preciousness of life and the zeal to preserve it. I hope that this can encourage others to recognize the fact that this group and position exists and encourage them to ask questions and engage in discussion to seek the truth.

  • future med student on 01.22.2015 at 7:01 pm

    Access to abortion and contraception are essential to female empowerment. From a historical perspective, it is vital to remember the folks who were originally against abortion–men. From a cultural perspective, it was advantageous for men to have control over women’s reproductive choices and they sought to maintain this control. As a woman and 7th generation Texan living and working in Mass. I am eternally grateful to healthcare providers who chose to serve women’s reproductive health needs as well as to the early women’s rights advocates and leaders who stood up to this inequality and demanded justice. THANK YOU HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS IN MASSACHUSETTS AND ELSEWHERE FOR PROVIDING SAFE ABORTIONS AND CONTRACEPTIVE SERVICES. It is your dedication that allows me to have full control over my reproductive choices and my future success. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to pursue higher education, focus on my future goals, and plan my family when I am ready for it. Limiting access to abortion unfortunately results in illegal, unsafe procedures and ends up leading to higher maternal mortality.

    • Denis on 01.22.2015 at 10:20 pm

      I would respectfully disagree with the idea that abortion and contraception are necessary for female empowerment. This gives the notion that empowerment comes from being able to do what you want when you want without consequence. I would propose that female empowerment comes from embracing who you are as a woman and the beautiful gifts that come as a result of your womanhood.

      Pregnancy and motherhood are that which are exclusively female and thus integral to the nature of women. This is not to say anything against infertile women – they are called to motherhood in other ways, such as opening themselves up to adopting children whose mothers are not able to raise them for whatever circumstances. But back to the original point – pregnancy is a gift and part of what makes womanhood beautiful.

      As a man, I will never be able to experience bearing a child, intimately holding him/her until he/she is ready to come into the world, and raising him/her in a way that only a mother can.

      To deny the opportunity for pregnancy and motherhood simply for convenience (abortion and contraception) is to deny a part of your womanhood. To deny part of your womanhood is actually the opposite of female empowerment. Therefore, abortion and contraception is in fact the opposite of female empowerment.

      I realize this can open up another whole can of worms. I know women aren’t necessarily thinking selfishly when thinking of acquiring an abortion and they may very well be in difficult situations. That’s where support for them in pregnancy and looking for options for their baby comes in. But that’s an entirely other discussion. I am responding to your main statement. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in any further discussion. I am more than happy to continue a healthy discussion

      • Jose Artigas on 01.23.2015 at 7:23 pm

        “they are called to motherhood in other ways”

        Denis, this is where you will lose many supporters. Who calls any woman to motherhood anyway? God? societal norms? Peer pressure? The partner/lover/father-to-be? The only one who should “call” particular woman to become a mother is herself.

        In asserting the primacy of their motherhood, you deny women their personhood. Thank about it.

        • Denis on 01.26.2015 at 1:04 pm

          What I meant there was for those women who choose to become mothers. Motherhood is a choice that each individual woman takes. Women who are infertile and still wish to become mothers must do so in other capacities. I apologize for the confusion there.

          To address your concern about being called, let me ask you this: Why do you pursue anything? Why would you choose any career or to be a parent or whatnot? If you do it because it is just something that people do, then you are missing the point of those pursuits. If you look deep enough, I ensure you that you will feel some sort of calling to any of your pursuits. Where this call comes from, now that’s another question. If you feel some sort of calling that makes you yearn for something, then it is clear this did not come of your own will, but rather from something outside yourself.

          Let me address your last point with another question: What would you define a woman’s personhood as? Yes, there is a common personhood shared with men and women that is part of the basic nature of human beings. However, I invite you to delve deeper and to find what is true to the unique personhood of a woman. To deny that women have a unique personhood that builds upon the common personhood of men and women is to deny what is intuitive about what makes men and women unique and distinct from each other (while still asserting the same basic rights and dignity afforded to all human beings). Think about it.

          I can argue my side all day, but I am interested first in seeing what you think about the subject.

  • Anonymous on 01.23.2015 at 8:27 am

    “advocating against abortion for victims impregnated through rape”… does nobody see how disgusting this is?

    • Yilan Xu on 03.12.2017 at 9:10 pm

      I agree with you. Although I can agree with “Pro-Life” people on some things. This is the one thing that I am absolutely against and disgusted with. Why would someone be forced to go through the mental terror of rape and then be FORCED to bear the child conceived during the assault?

  • Jose Artigas on 01.23.2015 at 7:37 pm

    “…an issue that has created combustible, even murderous, situations…”

    This formulation is quite disingenuous. It’s not the issue of abortion that causes murder. It is unreasoning hatred felt by certain anti-abortion activists that leads them to advocate & commit murder. Please do not phrase this matter in a way that implies that both sides may become violent or murderous. Those who are (literally) violently opposed to abortion — & usually to contraception or reproductive rights as well — have repeatedly demonstrated a capacity for violence beyond that of people who believe in reproductive freedoms.

    We can anticipate one particular response: “abortion is murder.” Well, who is to say? That raises the always-subjective issue of defining personhood. Despite efforts to enact laws defining abortion as murder, in most places, someone who counsels or performs an abortion is not a murderer. But if one kills a doctor or other health professional because they advocate reproductive freedom ( including the right to have a safe, affordable abortion) — that is Murder everywhere we care to look.

    • Denis on 01.26.2015 at 1:14 pm

      I understand that there have been incidents of violence and murder from people claiming to be pro-life. This is completely unacceptable and inconsistent with the stance they are claiming. However, to judge a whole position based on the actions of a few is fallacious. We all have a capacity for violence, the pro-choice side included. The physical and especially verbal abuse given to pro-life advocates is not something the media would ever cover and is something you should consider as a reality.

      Whether you say abortion is murder or not, there is only one right answer to the question. Defining personhood may seem subjective because of various opinions, but that does not mean that there is an objective answer. If I say that that the world is flat and you say that the world is round, a response of “Well, who is to say?” would not suffice for the disagreement. It is clear that the world is round and in that hypothetical argument, I would be wrong and you would be right. Similarly, there are objective realities to whether or not abortion is murder by determining what is a human person. It is not up to us to define it in our own terms, but to come to an understanding of what personhood really and objectively is, and then to articulate that understanding in a nominal definition. Something to think about.

  • Earle on 01.23.2015 at 11:30 pm

    I believe it is important to discern whether or not a fetus (what I consider to be an unborn child) is a human life, distinct from his or her (I use these terms in accordance with my beliefs) parents’, when addressing these concerns. If this being is distinct, as I believe he or she is, shouldn’t we afford him or her rights similar to those we afford other living human beings? Yes, similar to any other human life, if this is, in fact, a child (distinct from, say, an organ), I believe we should consider it’s rights and well-being, regardless of its inability to defend itself or express its pain, as its mother may be able to do. Most or all of our stances on this issue should be focused in this area. If it is not a distinct life, then it is certainly possible that we are infringing on the mother’s right to care for her own body, as she sees fit. However, if it is a life, then I suppose we, as a community, are attempting to prevent and outlaw parent-approved homicide. Even saying this, should the latter be the case, we ought to be forgiving of those who acted in ignorance and hope that God forgives them, as well.

  • Mo on 09.08.2017 at 8:35 am

    Keep up the good work ❤️

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