In the age of the sound bite, meaningful discussion on the most important matters that face this country is often non-existent. Nowhere is this more apparent than the dialogue surrounding the issue of abortion. While most politicians are content to peddle mere platitudes of support for a “culture of life” or a “woman’s right to choose,” most Americans remain ignorant of the real ethical, scientific and legal arguments at hand. It would make sense, then, that we as GW students have an obligation to take the lead and discuss abortion openly, not only because we would like to be informed future policymakers, but also because abortion will likely affect you or someone you know at some point in life, if not before graduation day.
GW students will get the opportunity to engage in a rare meaningful discussion on abortion Monday night as part of the Student Activities Center’s “R.E.A.L. Conversations” series. The event has a twofold purpose. First, representatives of the National Right to Life Committee and the National Abortion Federation will speak about the position of their respective organizations and movements on abortion. Students will then be given the chance to question the speakers and discuss the issue.
The second and more immediately important goal of the event is to plant the seeds for developing a policy at GW that provides for women in unplanned pregnancies. Appropriately, representatives from Student Health Service and CLLC have been invited to hear concerns and ideas of students regarding the limited options provided for women in unplanned pregnancies. Shouldn’t CLLC offer accessible on-campus housing for women who choose motherhood? Shouldn’t Student Health offer women in unplanned pregnancies as much information about the choice of adoption as the choice of abortion?
Sometimes, pro-lifers get caught up in the desire to change the law so much that they forget there will always be the need to provide for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies even once the law has changed. Pro-choicers often have the image of only supporting one choice – abortion – and their advocacy for the choices of adoption and motherhood could change this perception in a positive way.
While it is vital that pro-choice students are part of the push to enact real change at this university, Voices for Choices (GW’s Chapter of Planned Parenthood) declined to participate in this event when the Student Activities Center was planning it over the summer. Not only is Voices for Choices not participating, but they have scheduled a speaker for the same time on the same night.
Perhaps some like those at Voices for Choices think it is too ambitious to hope that cooperation can follow discussion on such a divisive issue. But how are we supposed to develop a policy without determining some basic facts and asking some fundamental questions, like whether an unborn human being has a natural right to life?
While both sides disagree on the ethics and legality of abortion, pro-choicers and pro-lifers can acknowledge that many women who have abortions do not choose them, but see no other options because of a lack of resources and support. So, if you are pro-choice, you could go to the Voices for Choices speaker on Monday night, and probably affirm the beliefs you already have. But if you would like to challenge your beliefs and contribute to making a better policy toward women in unplanned pregnancies at GW, come to Marvin Center room 309 Monday night at 7 p.m. for a real conversation you don’t want to miss.
-The writer is a junior majoring in international affairs. He is the chair of Colonials for Life.