College should make room for debate

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March 24, 2011

11:12 PM

Even though the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was handed down over 30 years ago, the issue of a woman’s right to an abortion remains a sensitive and divisive issue. Abortion continues to play an integral role in a politician’s platform in that almost everyone seems to have a strong opinion about it. The ongoing debate is far from civil. Many abortion clinics have received death threats and have been subjected to acts of violence in an effort to thwart the provision of their services.

The Student Assembly voted on March 15 to provide $5,700 in funding for a debate on abortion hosted by the Students for Life. The pro-choice coalition will be represented by Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-life supporters by Sean Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute. Overall, I hope this particular event promotes healthy and civil debate. In an era in which to be partisan is to be divided. I believe this debate can help both sides to come together and recognize that each brings a valid reasoning and rationale to the table. I find it ironic that radical pro-life supporters decide to murder others in an effort to prevent what they believe to be murder. Bombing an abortion clinic will never be an effective catalyst for change. Debate can demonstrate to the community that we support collaboration, not senseless destruction.

Abortion is not a topic that seems to affect the everyday life of students here at the College, but it is surely something about which nearly everyone has an opinion. Personally, I am part of the pro-choice coalition and stand behind Roe v. Wade. I believe a woman should have the right to decide if she wants to raise a child. It is often the case that the household cannot economically support a decent upbringing for the child, and the mother suitably acts in her and the child’s interest.

As Americans, we generally do not appreciate someone controlling how we act and think, and I do not believe abortion should be any different. Many pro-life arguments remind me of practices used in the early days of welfare. Mostly middle-class women would meticulously control the behavior of women below the poverty line, forcing them to adopt the same parenting strategies of the middle-class women, lest they lose their government assistance. Although this is anecdotal evidence, I see the middle-class predominantly supporting pro-life choices and legislation. They can afford to provide a child with a decent upbringing, and they therefore cannot fathom the current conditions of many women in poverty. These women face the reality of abortion and are directly impacted economically and emotionally by their pregnancies.

Regardless of your own opinions, hosting a debate is a great way to engage civilly with those who have opposing viewpoints so as to better understand their perspectives. I have no issue with no funding of this debate, and I emphatically support SA. I can only hope, however, that the debate focuses on the realities of abortion instead of esoteric concepts that tend to invade many discussions here at the College. To many of us, abortion still remains an abstract category that has not directly affected our lives. We must keep in mind that this issue has far-reaching implications. If we do so, I know this debate can bring both sides of the argument together in a healthy and productive manner.

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