One may not expect such open-minded answers from the president of Students for Life.
O’Neil, the recently appointed president of Students for Life, said
“My interest in UAA Students for Life began because of a few friends of mine who are actively involved in the pro-life movement. I felt led to help our club inform the UAA campus and our city of the heartbreaking and devastating truth concerning abortion.”
Before taking a yearlong break last year, the club was led by Paige Tiede from 2008-2009. Under her leadership, Students for Life displayed a series of images in front of the Lucy Cudy Hall, with signs placed around the borders of the display reading “Graphic Images Ahead!” The signs were not warning enough. Pictures, while a common outlet for peaceful protesting, showcased a series of aborted fetuses. These ‘graphic images’, provided by the Center for Bio-ethical Reform, were a way of “exploiting truth,” said club counsel representative Windy Thomas.
When asked what some of the student reactions were, Thomas said “‘They are disturbing.’ …We agree. Abortion is disturbing.”
Club members Brianna O’Neil (president), Windy Thomas (club representative), and Natalia Balaban (secretary), described the pictures as a tactic to get their point across. Thomas compared this particular tactic to a tactic she said was effective during the Civil War; that only when pictures of racial brutality were circulated did the severity of the situation take hold.
However, not everyone seems to be agreeing with Students for Life and their means of expression. As the eyes and ears of UAA, I sought out the students behind the Information Desk.
The Information Desk is plastered with flyers and want ads, among which are some of the new flyers the Students for Life (SFL) are putting up around campus. The group has spread these flyers throughout UAA. They show a fetus on a bright blue background. This piece of paper serves as an informational pamphlet for Students for Life.
When asked about these flyers, UAA freshman and Information Desk (attendant) Cassie stated that, “I think that they are a very rude and disturbing showcase of opinion.”
I asked sophomore ‘Chris’ what he thought about the circulating flyers. He retorted with, “…aborted fetuses are case sensitive and if you are going to claim that they have rights and a mother doesn’t have the right to not carry her child to term, then display that.”
Digging a little deeper, I sought out the professional opinion of UAA faculty. Assistant Professor Ron McGee stated that a member of the club had approached him with the flyers image to gain his input. “It is a picture of a fetus. It’s not a picture of an aborted fetus, just a fetus inside a person. I personally don’t see anything wrong with it.”
While the club’s approach may seem a little forward to some, the SFL leaders see this as necessary. Discussions with UAA students, thanks to these flyers and the booths that were set up, have proven to be fruitful as well as confrontational. A list of ten plus email addresses compiled over a couple of days. Students requested information on the topic of abortion and the club itself. The booths also resulted in several new members.
Thomas, one of the club’s longest members, takes a very forward, yet diplomatic approach to her outreach
“It’s not people that we have any problem with…it’s the philosophy that does not support the sanctity of human life.”
While the club hasn’t provided much controversial stimuli as of late, they are working on expressing their beliefs and educating fellow students. The current agenda for next semester includes movie nights, as well as speaker and rape victim Tiffany Rye. Rye will speak about her rape as a teenager, her conception and abortion, and her post-abortion regret as well as forgiveness towards her rapist. Dates for these events are to be announced.
The club is also seeking involvement in the UAA orientation kick off.
Whether you agreement or not with the efforts of the SFL, it is hard to deny that their efforts bring up what are important issues to be debated. I recommend that you take time to look at the facts as objectively as possible, and then look internally towards your conscience, in order to formulate an opinion of your own.
To get involved with either club, search them on Facebook and join their page. Additional sources for Students for Life include firstname.lastname@example.org, Collegiate Link, and www.freewebs.com.