Column: Aborting debate

A recent Hatchet editorial (“Change tactics,” Jan. 27, p. 4) claimed that “where pro-life advocates have succeeded most substantially lies in their ability to dehumanize any woman who partakes in the (abortion) procedure.” This claim could not be further from the truth. The pro-life movement is rooted in the fundamental truth that all human beings – regardless of mental or physical development – have intrinsic worth and dignity. The pro-life movement has not dehumanized women; abortion has.

If you need evidence of this, look no further than Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a group of women who have personally experienced an abortion and are now striving to “make the public aware that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically and spiritually to women and others; reach out to women who are hurting from an abortion, let them know help is available; Invite women to join us in speaking the truth about abortion’s negative consequences.” Does this sound like a movement bent on dehumanizing women, as The Hatchet claims?

On the contrary, pro-life groups are trying to spread the word that abortion dehumanizes both mother and child, leaving one dead and one wounded. At the same time, pro-lifers strive to “walk their talk” by funding and staffing crisis pregnancy centers, which provide financial and emotional resources for women to exercise nonviolent choices like adoption or motherhood.

University students are among the most likely to experience a crisis pregnancy, but at GW there is little open dialogue about abortion and other alternatives that are available during one. This past semester, GW’s pro-life advocacy group, Colonials for Life, invited Voices for Choices to take part in an organized debate on the moral, legal and scientific aspects of abortion. After much internal discussion, Voices for Choices refused to engage in such a debate with Colonials for Life, citing the fear of an attack as a reason for not debating. The careful reader may interpret “attack” to mean a shrill verbal assault from a self-righteous pro-lifer, but Voices for Choices specifically demanded to know how Colonials for Life could prevent “a man with a gun” from sabotaging the event.

Despite our equally substantiated concerns that Voices for Choices members could not prevent a “man with a forceps” from performing a late-term abortion on us, we still wish to host a debate with any willing student group. All joking aside, there are very legitimate questions that Voices for Choices fears answering in a public forum. Voices for Choices recently smeared pro-lifers as “political-religious extremists” in its newsletter, but are “political extremists” dedicated to free and open discussion? Are “religious extremists” the only people dedicated to protecting the lives of innocent and unwanted human beings?

It is clear that science, not religion, is driving the abortion debate. Even The Hatchet conceded, “Few rational human beings openly advocate the act of terminating a fetus.” The word “fetus” defines a stage of development, not a species. Based on scientific knowledge, couldn’t The Hatchet just as easily have written, “Few rational human beings openly advocate the act of terminating a human being?”

But in the debate over the most basic human rights, Voices for Choices is all too noticeably silent from any type of constructive dialogue. Anyone who is truly dedicated to the pro-choice cause should demand better representation. They should demand campus leaders who genuinely believe in their ideas and will defend them in a public setting. We sincerely hope that the Voices for Choices executive board will reconsider their refusal to debate. Lives may depend on it.

-The writer is the Director of Campus Outreach for GW Colonials for Life.

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