Student groups discuss reproductive rights


Augustana Junior Sage Sanders (from left) and First-year Aubrey Lathrop talk with Senior Lily Tewksbury at the Generation Action at Augustana table in the Gerber Center Brew, October 18, 2019. The table was set up as a counter protest to the showing of “Unplanned” by the Augustana Students for Life that would show later that evening in Hanson 304.

Dina Marin

On Friday, Oct. 18, two student groups hosted discussions on about abortion and reproductive freedom.

Students For Reproductive Freedom, a new student group on campus, set up a table in the Brew. They talked about their club and started conversations about abortion.

Students for Life (SFL), another Augustana student organization, sponsored the showing of the movie “Unplanned,” a movie narrating the testimony of a previous employee from Planned Parenthood.

“[This film] tells the true story of Abby Johnson, as it walks you through her life as a college student at Texas A&M and ending up as a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic,” Father Jeremy Freehill, Faculty Advisor for the Students for Life group, said in an email. “This knowledge led her to a bold and courageous decision to leave Planned Parenthood and to begin a Pro-Life movement for women and their children.”

Senior Grace Fitzpatrick, member of the Students for Reproductive Freedom, commented on the movie.

“While our group does not agree with the message that the ‘“Unplanned”’ movie spreads because it comes from a place of judgment and factual inaccuracies, we respect that every student group on campus is free to plan and throw events that center on their advocacy,” Fitzpatrick said, “My personal thoughts are that it is crazy that a student group at Augustana would show a movie that is wildly factually inaccurate. Even the slightest bit of research shows so.”

However, some students shared a different opinion about the movie and showed up to it on Friday night.“I wouldn’t say it was an anti-abortion movie, it was more about Planned Parenthood and about Abby Johnson’s life,” Sophomore Jack Currie, who attended the movie showing, said. “They have a right to show whatever movie they want and people also have a right to not go to said movie.”

Other members of the campus community offered a different interpretation of the movie.

“Yes, I know the anti-abortionists have the right to express their opinion. So do I,” Senior Elise Campbell tweeted. “And it’s my opinion that the fact a member of Augustana’s faculty believes he can tell students what they can and cannot do with their bodies is appalling. Shame on you, Jeremy Freehill.”

Dispite the different opinions on the movie, both groups hoped to prompt honest discussions.

“Myself and members of Augustana Students for Life (along with many others on this campus) believe and are convinced that the direct abortion of an unborn human life is a grave injustice protected under law, and we want to be a part of a hard conversation about the true nature of human life,” Freehill said. “A dialogue that isn’t always popular.”

“Students for Reproductive Freedom is a group that is focused on advocating from a place of love and zero judgment,” Fitzpatrick said. “We believe that nobody should make healthcare decisions for any other individual. We are also committed to normalizing abortion on campus.”

Sophomore Emmy Sharaan, member of SFL, said. “We really wanted to use the movie to generate discussion on the topic, which is why we made sure to emphasize that those who consider themselves pro-choice are encouraged to come to the event.”