Friday, March 2, 2012

Students for Li(f)es

A few days ago I was on campus when I saw a small group of people at a table. This is a common sight on a college campus and I figured it was just a group trying to promote whatever their goal is. Out of curiosity, I walked over to the group to see about six pictures of famous people ranging from Hitler to Gandhi and I saw six cards with different quotes on them. One of the people from the group asked me if I wanted to try and match the quotes to the correct person. Intrigued by this challenge, I did my best to match the quotes to the people. One of the pictures was of a woman from what looked like the early 1900’s, when I asked who is that they said that was a picture of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. I then realized what they were trying to prove with this game. There was a very negative quote regarding black people and since I had previously heard about how the founder of PP was racist, and matched the quote to her. When I was done they said I matched all of them correctly (no lie) and I got a Starbucks gift card in return. They gave me some pamphlets with a very negative view of PP while they proceeded to give me statistics about the number of black women who get abortions. They basically said that, because of the racist views of its founder and the number of black women who get abortions, PP’s goal is to harm black people. Taken aback by this, I challenged them by pointing out that there are many other reasons as to why people get abortions, besides PP’s “obvious” plan to destroy the black race. I then pointed out that if someone is truly against abortion, it would make sense to support PP, seeing as they provide contraception to many people, which prevents abortions. They claimed that the birth control they provide is intentionally faulty so that women will then have to abort their child when they become pregnant. They also said that they, Students for Life, are personally against the use of contraception. I realized at this point that I didn’t have enough time to change these peoples minds, so, with my giftcard in hand I walked away.
I understand that the abortion issue is very divisive and brings out strong passions on both sides, but this comes down to matter of just being factually right. Its sad that people are so easily able to be coaxed into believing such silly non-sense. I mean, maybe Margaret Sanger was a racist, but to imply that PP, in its current form, is just a big scheme to try to destroy black people is beyond ridiculous, and it would be hilarious if the consequences of this thinking weren’t so tragic.
            I think the worst part of this is that it distracts from the real reasons it is more likely for lower-income people and minorities to get abortions. The people I spoke to in Students for Life completely ignore the socioeconomic inequalities that exist in our society and instead focus on certain “bogeymen” (in this case PP). And as for only believing in sex for the purpose of reproduction, that’s fine for someone to believe in as an individual, if that’s what they are comfortable with. However it's outrageous for someone to try to enforce that belief on society as a whole. It is extremely dangerous of them to campaign against Planned Parenthood and contraception. If people like this win the minds of a majority, it will result in a rise in STD’s among other things. Beyond the fact that it is stupid to believe such propaganda like this, it is also immoral because of the potential consequences of such rhetoric. Even if someone believes that abortion is wrong, getting rid of Planned Parenthood won’t bring about the end of abortions and would most likely make more people have them because of lack of access to contraception. I don’t think its wrong to challenge PP because I don’t think anything should be immune from criticism, but to make up lies about something just to further some ideology makes your “side” look very silly.  

1 comment:

  1. I think that a lot of our problems result from so many people who believe in a right vs. wrong dichotomy and refuse to acknowlege complex moral questions. For instance, some who advocate abstinence-only contraception either don't realize or don't care that people will continue to have sex, but probably fewer will use protection. This will lead to more abortions and the spread of STD's. But because people believe abstinence is the only "right" was to prevent pregnancy, they refuse to acknowldege these problematic issues. I believe we would all benefit if society evaluated people's decisions on a case by case basis rather than deciding that everyone who gets an abortion is morally corrupt.