The first time I heard about “Life Week” was my freshman year. As someone who supports the right for people to choose whether they want to be a parent or not, I felt a bit bothered by the emails and displays, but I didn’t seriously think about it or say or do anything.
Over the past four years, as I’ve learned more about the issues related to the abortion debate, I have become more bothered by “Life Week” and the way the debate over abortion plays out, not just on campus, but across the country.
My biggest gripe with “Life Week” and, the “pro-life” movement in general, is that it oversimplifies an issue that is deeply complex and reduces the issue to an emotional argument about “murdered babies” and “lives lost,” which is disingenuous and dangerous.
Right to Life does have the right to display flags on the quad and post flyers throughout campus, but these actions do not engage in a serious discussion of such a complicated issue and essentially come off as propaganda.
Abortion is an emotional issue that raises deeply moral questions. But it is much more than that. Any serious discussion regarding abortion should also include: the issue of people’s right to bodily autonomy; the need for more adequate sex education; greater access to birth control and quality health care (reproductive, pre/postnatal, pediatric, etc.); parental and family leave policies in the workplace; the high cost of raising a child; traditional gender roles that can cause disparities along gender lines and hardships for people who do not conform to those roles; racist historical policies of forced sterilization of poor women of color and having the right to choose to be a parent as well as the right to choose to not be one.
When all of these issues are considered, many of the positions of the pro-life side fall flat and seem inadequate at addressing the realities that people must face when they consider having an abortion. I support the right for people to choose whether they want to be parents or not because often the “choice” to have an abortion is the only option people have–making it not much of a choice at all.
If the pro-life side wants to be serious about reducing the number of abortions, they should work towards addressing the reasons why people have abortions rather than pushing propaganda. And if we want to talk about abortion at all, which we should be given the constant legislation and court rulings on the issue across the country, we should talk about it seriously by addressing all the issues that relate to it.
– Vanessa Reyes