A Response to Yesterday's Student for Life Event

On October 7th, the Students for Life Club hosted the Planned Parenthood Project, a campaign dedicated to discrediting and devaluing the work of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in the Barone Campus Center. The anti-Planned Parenthood display was intrusive, exclusive, and offensive to members of the Fairfield student body.

Imagine walking to the BCC and from afar, seeing a field of pink. As you walk closer, you see that the pink is comprised of small crosses, and while you may first thought that the event was maybe to support breast cancer awareness, the sea of pink instead represents a “graveyard” of unborn fetuses.  This painstaking image then gives way to a vocal demonstration, where students were intrusively engaged by members of the campaign.

While we believe in the power of free speech and understand the intentions of the Students for Life Club, as students of the university, we can not stand for the manipulation of the student body. By creating a visual that is intrusive to the student body, the Planned Parenthood Project intimidates students about a controversial issue, instead of educating them.

Planned Parenthood has been providing affordable healthcare to women and children across the America and the globe since 1916. The organization serves as a cancer screening and prevention center, HIV screening and counseling center, provides contraception, and acts as an adoption referral center, among countless services, which can be found on their annual report.

The Students for Life club, through the Planned Parenthood Project depicted Planned Parenthood as an abortion business, when in actually, only a portion of the organization’s overall business is dedicated to abortions. The malicious slander provided by Students for Life only highlighted a portion of the organization’s services to depict it in a negative light.

We are happy to believe that Fairfield University is generally a very inclusive community and as students, it’s difficult to walk by a demonstration that is so incredibly offensive. In a community of roughly 3,300 undergraduate students and 1,200 graduate students, statistically there are a percentage women on campus who have had, or will have an abortion or experience the death on an unborn child. The Students for Life demonstration created an exclusive and unsafe space by fostering an uncomfortable and nearly unavoidable presentation near one of the most frequently visited buildings on campus.

We fully support free speech and dialogue on campus but condoning a provocative demonstration on campus like the Students for Life protest would be a disservice to Fairfield University. Consider the tour groups on campus yesterday, walking past the protest and the reflection it has on the university as an intrusive place that is advising women what to do with their body. If we were touring Fairfield today, the demonstration would be a deciding factor as to why we would choose to go elsewhere.  

We firmly believe that there is a line between what is appropriate for a college campus and what crosses an ethical line through slander and propaganda. Yesterday the demonstration supported by Students for Life crossed that line. We hope that this is just the beginning of a dialogue that this campus can begin to have.  For more information on the services provided by Planned Parenthood, please visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org/.