Pro-Life University Group Uses Bias Awareness Tactics

Location: 
Kutztown University
United States
US

I’m not here to attack Pro-Life. I’m not here to support Pro-Choice. My position on the long debated conversation is not important. I’m here to generate a conversation about what are and aren’t healthy awareness tactics in order to spread solidarity.

This past week I’ve been confronted by chalk drawings, supplied by Students for Life, a group at Kutztown University, that range from helplines to pictures of babies in their second or third trimester (Second: 13 weeks to 26 weeks, third: 27 weeks to end of pregnancy) (A common abortion is during the First trimester: 1 to 12 weeks). These chalk drawings were everywhere on campus. I couldn’t get away. What is troubling about the quotes some of these chalk drawings display is not that they support a pro-life agenda, but that they confuse bias for fact.

Here are some pictures I took of the chalk:

"Protect Life at all ages”

"Love the Least"

 

"Human Rights For All"

"Strong men are pro-life!"

“Vegan: Question: if anything that has the ability to suffer deserves rights, such as nonhuman animals, why not a fetus?”

“1/4 of our generation is MISSING due to Abortions”

“Human Rights for ALL Humans”

One of the images that really stuck out to me was that of “Strong men are pro-life.” This is a box that the Student for Life group has decided on. When you put people in boxes you give them no room to progress. What defines a “strong” man? Their muscles? Their values? Their voices? By saying only “strong men” participate in pro-life agendas, the group is crossing out any other men that might want to participate or have any say in the debate.

The bad thing about opinions is they can be confused with fact when there is no strong evidential connection. People that want to talk about moral issues or political standpoints have a choice to create discourse based on an objective or subjective position. If his/her/their subjectivity prevents a person from presenting his/her/their message in an informed manner, than his/her/their discourse can become disputable.

Some of the quotes did have statistics and historical relevance. I’m just wondering where some of the information came from.

If statistics are helpful learning tactics for the group, then here are a couple statistics about the reasons women may get an abortion:

Planned Parenthood (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are):

  • “Millions of people face unplanned pregnancies every year, and about 4 out of 10 of them decide to get an abortion.”
  • “Some people with planned pregnancies also get abortions because of health or safety reasons.”
  • “Overall, 3 in 10 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old.”

Guttmacher Institute (https://www.guttmacher.org/about) :

  • “The reasons patients gave for having an abortion underscored their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. The three most common reasons—each cited by three-fourths of patients—were:
    • Concern for or responsibility to other individuals;
    • The inability to afford raising a child;
    • And the belief that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents.
    • Half said they did not want to be a single parent or were having problems with their husband or partner”
  • “Some 75% of abortion patients in 2014 were poor or low-income. Twenty-six percent of patients had incomes of 100–199% of the federal poverty level, and 49% had incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level ($15,730 for a family of two)”
  • “Leading experts have concluded that among women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single first-trimester abortion than if they carry the pregnancy to term”

*These reasons are not for everyone, because each person has their own, unique situation. This just gives an idea of certain women’s situations.

I want to reiterate, this isn’t about whether or not a woman should have an abortion. I’m focusing on the rights of “all humans” that the group writes about. Who are “all humans” to the group? How old are they? How educated on sexual health are they? What are their situations? Who are they standing up for—their agendas or people?

People need to leave bias out of their reporting. One can’t just create profiles for people that may feel something towards a particular political standpoint—that is promoting generalizations and bigotry.

Picture these scenarios:

  1. You’ve just found out you’re pregnant. It’s only the first or second week of the pregnancy and you’re scared for the future and you don’t have the money or time to take care of a baby right now; so you’re opting to have an abortion. Then you come to school and find the campus littered with sayings slandering abortions and telling you that they can help support you. How? Will they give you money? Will they care about you and the baby once he/she/they is born? Can they ensure you’re baby will go to a good adoption agency? How do they know? This makes you scared because you want the abortion but now you feel that people will judge you and slander your name through the process, all because you don’t want an uncertain future for you and your baby.
  2. You’ve recently had an abortion. You were scared about the decision in the beginning, but feel better after doing it because you are no longer uncertain about yours and the baby’s future. Then you come into school and see it plastered with images and quotes about what you did was the wrong choice. This plagues your mind and you begin to feel scared and judged for your decision—something you believed to be essential to live your life. And now you can’t because other people have decided you’ve ruined your life.

 

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves

Both situations display how invalidating a person’s choice can impact their mental health. This a dangerous decision because by doing something you believe to be right, but not understanding the consequences of how someone else might read your message can harm the people you’re trying to protect.

It’s not about who is right or wrong. It’s about spreading awareness in a healthy, and non-subjective, manner. To chastise or disregard a person’s mental and physical situation disrupts the message “All humans deserve rights.” It invalidates that human’s ‘personhood’, much like Students for Life believe pro-choice supporters invalidate the fetus as a morally conscious human being.

 

One last message from Planned Parenthood:

  • “Decisions about your pregnancy are deeply personal. You hold the power to make decisions that are best for you in order to stay on your own path to a healthy and meaningful life. There are lots of things to consider, and it’s totally normal to have many different feelings and thoughts when making the decision. That’s why it’s important to get factual, non-judgmental information about abortion. Support from family, friends, partners, and other people you trust can also be helpful. But at the end of the day, only you know what’s right for you.”

 

Sources used:

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/considering-abortion

https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states#6