Discussion, facts over propaganda

On April 13, walking across campus, for many, was a disconcerting experience. With the Right to Life campaign for Life Week present on the Lower Quad and in the Brew, the discomfort with the displays was clear.

However, it wasn’t the pro-life agenda that bothered me most, it was the clear lack of proper information and the use of vague propaganda  to induce guilt that was inflammatory. If the mission statement of Right to Life includes “informing members of the group and Augustana students about the pro-life stance,” it is only reasonable that they use accurate data, instead taking quotes from Mother Teresa out of context.

The biggest claim being made by the group, was that “a third of our generation is missing due to abortion.” There was no citation or sourcing whatsoever to back this claim. Making a statement like that in one of the most heavily-trafficked locations on a liberal arts campus requires strong evidence behind it.

The national argument over the accuracy of abortion statistics continues. So why place support behind an outdated and extremely vague assumption? Why not use that opportunity to make arguments that are moral, legal, or even medical? We are constantly asked to have intellectual discussions about such issues, and this did not spur any progress from either side.

Vandalism isn’t the answer, but the campaign didn’t even pose a proper question. It is difficult to have any positive feelings towards an institution that supports a student organization that intentionally misleads its students, or approves of actions that could trigger distress or emotional trauma in those walking to class.

It’s one thing to want to provide a strong message and start a discussion, it’s another to provide vague, guilt-inducing propaganda.