They’re At It Again

Posted by at 3:39AM

…those anti-abortionists.
Every year, the relatively male-heavy group, Students for Life, dominates White Plaza with their bold symbolic protest against abortion, and every year the all-female Students for Choice group stands with a humble table nearby, helping to re-ground students who might otherwise be seduced by the hugely emotional display. There are 464 crosses, one for every 100,000 fetuses legally aborted since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973.

Two years ago, after seeing the display for the first time, I wrote the following letter to the Stanford Daily:

I saw the crosses today. Although I am no longer an active Catholic, the use of the cross still elicits a deeply emotional response from me. I do not approve of abortion, but I also do not approve of making it illegal, because that leaves vulnerable women in the lurch. The only truly compassionate balance here is a pro-choice balance.
Pro-life groups could do their cause a huge service by advocating changes to our system and society that would ensure that women did not feel helpless or alone when facing an unwanted pregnancy. That would probably save more lives than shoving a hugely emotional and significant symbol in the face of our decidedly pro-choice student body. You are hurting a lot of people who struggle to deal with this difficult balance.
Sophomore, Political Science

Interestingly enough, even though the group kept their hugely emotional symbolism, they also handed out fliers addressing (commendably) the point I made:

The unborn have not been the only victims of Roe. Every cross on the lawn represents abortions that have been performed on women, many of whom ever after remain emotionally and even physically scarred. Alice Paul, the author of the original Equal Rights Amendment (1923), called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women,” and there can be no doubt that this is indeed the case. Our society has betrayed women by offering them no viable alternative to disposing of their unplanned children. Those in the already stressful situation of facing an unexpected pregnancy are told they must have an abortion or face losing their jobs, their respect in society, or the support of their loved ones. While we must emphatically assert that killing 46 million people is not the solution to the problem, we also recognize that abortion is a symptom of larger social and cultural disorders that we have a duty to address. In working to end abortion, we must simultaneously work to increase the support, education, and pregnancy resources available to women.

Agreed. So when will Students for Life be updating their total? The sign says that 46 million people are victims of Roe v. Wade. But if all of those aborted fetuses have a mother, the total number of ‘victims’ under Roe should be double that. If Students for Life is going to match their rhetoric with action, they might want to consider a whole separate protest just for women and would-be mothers. Gosh, wouldn’t that be an oxymoronic display? A Students for Life “Rally for Women’s Rights!”
But, alas, I do not wish to conclude on a sarcastic note. Every time the issue comes up, I am left feeling messy. Because it is so messy. Even if the whole of society welcomed each woman’s pregnancy with open arms, I don’t know that abortion would just come to a natural end. A look at the data suggests not. About 43% of American women will have one or more abortions in their lifetime, and not all of their reasons for doing so are clearly related to “society doesn’t support me.” Have a look.
I can only try to put myself in a woman’s shoes. Some women just say that they are not ready to have a child, and with that I can certainly sympathize. My life is pretty much run according to my own plan. Go to college. Graduate from college. Get a job. Go to grad school. Somewhere, get “married.” And after I’m all grown up and mature, I’ll take on raising a child.
Given my sexual orientation, I will indeed choose when to raise a child. Were I a woman, however, I would have to take extreme care to reach the point where I’m ready to raise a child without getting pregnant.
Extreme care.
If I did get pregnant before I was ready to raise a child, would I want an abortion? Yes, probably. Would I get one? Could I live with my decision?
These are all difficult hypotheticals to fathom, which is why it’s almost impossible for men to get a grasp of the entirety of the issue. I could see myself getting an abortion, and I could also see myself living with it. After all, it would be early in the pregnancy, it would be quick and safe, and in the end, I would say to myself, “At least I was able to terminate the pregnancy before it got to be too much like a human.”
But I would try not to dwell on it, and I certainly would never want to see 464 tiny white crosses on the lawn at the center of my college campus memorializing all of the victims of people like me.
Would that be selfish? Probably. And that’s probably why the anti-abortionists will never fully welcome women as the other half of the victims of Roe.
In the end, in many cases, it really does come down to mother versus fetus. And it’s mom’s choice. Her beliefs be damned.


9 Responses to “They’re At It Again”

  1. Karin Manning says:

    Hi there, that was a great letter you wrote. The topic of abortion brings
    about so many different strong emotions in people. When someone mentions
    the word abortion the word adoption comes to mind. I have been married
    twice in my life and, by coincidence, both men have been adopted. Now
    having been adopted I am very aware that both their mothers had the choice
    obviously to adopt or abort. Definitely at the time abortion could have
    seemed the easier option. However, I know two close friends who have had
    abortions and many decades later still carry the emotional scars. Also,
    perhaps somewhat alarming, is the view of my first mother-in-law now in her
    70s. When she was a young sexually active female abortions were seen as a
    form of birth control. In fact, I believe she had around 7 or 8 and is
    extremely matter of fact about it. Abortion and adoption have touched many
    facets of my life.
    I can only say regarding my life, I am grateful that my second husband’s
    mother – when faced with the decision of adoption or abortion – chose to
    adopt because I would not be married to such an incredible man now. Of
    course, though, at the end of the day it is by and large a personal choice.
    I wouldn’t wish that choice upon anyone and I respect any woman who has
    had to make the choice of adoption or abortion and I hope that her life is
    filled with many blessings.

  2. CC says:

    I saw that very display in White Plaza while I was standing in line waiting to return a textbook to the Bookstore. It tore at my heart, the earnest naivete of the students who set up this display.
    My own sister had to have an abortion late last year. My family’s Christian and my parents are highly conservative. It was a terrible shock for all of us because we never thought something like that would happen to us. However, even though my parents were ideologically anti-abortion, we immediately agreed as a family that my sister needed an abortion ASAP. I’m so thankful for Roe vs. Wade, because that’s the reason that this crucial resource was available to her in a legal, easily accessible, and medically safe manner.
    I’d love to ask these people next time – What if it was your sister? What if it was you?

  3. Pregnancy Calendar says:

    I don’t think this issue will ever be in a place where the vast majority can agree. There are cases when abortion should be considered, others where it shouldn’t. Unless you are in the situation yourself it is very hard to understand the emotions and the forces pulling you in different directions

  4. Pregnancy Today says:

    Many anti-abortion activists are protesting against abortions that are not necessary and made for selfish reasons. Among young teens it is becoming another birth prevention tactic alongside condoms. It is astounding how many teenage girls today undergo abortions – perhaps they would be more careful if the option wasn’t available.

  5. Dave says:

    I think you should be able to have an abortion for only the right reasons though. Of course if you were raped you don’t want that kid in your life. The whole time you would be like wow this kid was property of that guy that raped me that one night. I don’t think you should be able to get one though just because you don’t think you’re ready for a kid. If you’re not ready for a kid you shouldn’t be having sex!

  6. AddictionbyEmily says:

    I myself would not have an abortion unless it was medically necessary but I rather some woman who is strung out on drugs have an abortion than causing the baby to be completely deformed and not have a good chance of survival anyway. Instead of focusing on the actual abortion itself these protesters should look at the people and the reasons that they are having the abortions. Fight the war on drug addiction and crimes such as rape and you might see a dramatic drop in abortions in the US.

  7. Prisilla says:

    I don’t think abortions are right in any situation. I saw a video in a theology class that gave me this very strong opinion. The video graphically displayed dead babies that had been aborted and even showed an abortion being performed. The images shown on the movie provided me with great assurance that abortions are terrible. The lives of those poor innocent babies were taken from them as they were sucked up in vacuums from the womb or burned to death. Even in cases of rape, a baby should not be aborted. Maybe you are familiar with Pam Stenzel, but if not, she talks to teens all around the world about abstinence and responsibility in their actions. Her father was a rapist, but her mother decided to put her up for adoption. Today, Pam influences thousands of teenagers to make responsible decisions in their lives. Think of what that baby could become, not what it came from.

  8. G-Unit says:

    Prisilla, you’re well within your rights to believe that abortion is immoral and sinful and wrong. But, I have to ask you – why do you think your view should have power over another woman’s who believes, just as vehemently, that abortion should be allowed.

  9. How to get pregnant says:

    Dis is a great move by dese students..Abortions should not be done..Dis is silent as well as brutal killing..How to get pregnant


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