Today, upon skimming the headlines of the Flat Hat, I saw the title “Thinking Outside the VOX.” Albeit, a clever title that caught my attention, the article concerned me. I am interested in hearing about the lives and aspirations of fellow William and Mary students, and although I identify as pro-life, or as the newspaper would insist “anti-choice,” I am intrigued to hear the perspectives of the opposing viewpoint in order to better understand what I myself believe and why.
However, what I truly found repulsive was the way that the pro-life movement is portrayed in the article. I have frequently stood in prayer outside of abortion clinics, and never once have I or anyone present yelled at a woman who makes the choice to go inside (the only yelling that has taken place has been on the part of angry drivers passing by). Never once have I or anyone with me threatened the safety of a woman entering a clinic, or even attempted to intimidate them. Instead, we pro-lifers have stood quietly in prayer, remembering the lives of the women and children inside.
Now it is true that not all pro-lifers conduct themselves in this way, but I think it should be acknowledged that every movement has its radicals. While I have heard the stories of “abortion clinic screamers,” I have also myself been flicked off, screamed at and spit on by members of the pro-choice movement. I am in no way trying to justify such actions from either side or defend pro-lifers who intimidate women, yell at escorts or even kill abortion providers. Actions such as these are unacceptable, anti-life and counter the core tenants of the pro-life movement. I think that is something we can all agree on. But, because that is not what being pro-life is all about, I reject the characterization provided by the author and say that pro-life means respecting life at all its stages, whether it be an unborn child, an abortion provider, or any other person, regardless of their race, gender, beliefs or career.
Upon coming to the end of the article, “Thinking Outside the VOX,” related articles were recommended to me by The Flat Hat online. Every single one of these articles concerned abortion, but every single one was also written from the perspective of the pro-choice movement. So what I would like to see from The Flat Hat is some acknowledgment of the other point of view. After all, it is “The College of William and Mary’s Student Voice.” Just as I read about a student who aspires to become an abortion provider so that I can better understand where the pro-choice movement comes from and why, I would like other students to read about Students for Life. SFL is a very active group on campus, conducting diaper drives, tabling in Sadler and creating a database for pregnant and parenting students. I think it could only be beneficial to create a respectful dialogue between the two sides so that we can begin to recognize the concerns held by each.
Rebecca Boak ’19
Email Rebecca Boak at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the article being responded to referred to critics of abortion as “anti-choice.” The article has been amended to reflect The Flat Hat’s style guide.