One of the things I love the most about being on a college campus is the potential for an exchange of ideas.
My favorite freedom protected under the First Amendment is the freedom of the press. The freedom to peaceably assemble is a close second, and I truly appreciate the activism that I will see on campus on a daily basis.
Even in instances where I may not support what the group is saying, I support that they’re saying it. With the exception of those who become hostile and honestly just mean.
Generally these assemblies of people will consist of five or so activists accompanied by a tent and some signs presenting a topic for discussion.
This particular topic of discussion: “Should Abortion Remain Legal?” The question was posed by the pro-life organization, AbortionNo.
Now, I also love the opportunity for debate. Much like a Sudoku, it keeps my mind sharp.
I enjoy the potential for conversation, and often times finding some kind of common ground. One activist for the organization and I agreed that focusing on a reform of the foster care system and better sex education in schools would be a better way to weed out the need for abortions rather than just outlawing it all together when some women desperately need it.
I like to understand other people, and I like for other people to understand me.
However, although I support all groups freedom to say something, I also think it’s important for every group to think about how they’re saying that something.
Something I definitely don’t support about how this group gets their message across is the rather large poster board of a 11-week-old aborted fetus they set up each semester.
This image doesn’t strike a chord with me. But, I wondered, how many women on a college campus had been faced with the unbelievably tough decision of whether or not terminating a pregnancy was the best choice for them? I had this thought last semester when this group came and set up their tent and graphic poster next to Broncho Lake near the Nigh University Center in the middle of campus.
According to a study done in 2008, 1 in five women will have an abortion by the time they’re 25. According to afterabortion.org, 44% of women complained of nervous disorders just eight weeks after having the abortion.
Understand that I am not using this statistic as a reasoning as to why women shouldn’t get abortions. I believe that women have to put a large amount of thought into the decision and I believe they understand that that could be an outcome. But, I don’t think they need unnecessary triggers on their way to lunch while at school getting an education.
When I asked one of the men, in his 50’s or so, why they use an image that could potentially be a trigger to so many women he responded with something along the lines of;
When I see the Dallas Cowboy star it triggers me because I hate the Dallas Cowboys, does that mean people shouldn’t have the freedom to use it?
I never claimed that they shouldn’t have the freedom to use the image of the fetus. I’m quite the advocate for the freedom of speech, I’m also an advocate of choosing your words wisely. I was curious as to why they felt it was necessary to use. Not to mention, the comparison of triggers was grotesque.
How you feel when when you see the Dallas Cowboys star is not in anyway comparable to how a woman who is suffering from depression or any other psychological complication due to terminating a pregnancy would feel after practically being forced to see an image of an aborted fetus.
Another activist claimed that it was important to use imagery to evoke an emotional response. What the image could achieve is worth more than any negative feelings the image causes. My understanding was that making a point was important that someone’s emotional well-being.
I understand the use of imagery to evoke emotion and as a call to action. I just don’t understand hurting people to present imagery most college students have witnessed before.
They weren’t presenting a new idea, or exposing anything that had been lurking around in the shadows.
They weren’t bringing something to light that college students didn’t already know about. I truly believe that the use of the image was purely for shock factor, and putting the traffic your booth will receive over the mental wellbeing of others itself doesn’t seem like a very Christian thing to do.
Overall, I felt that most of the activists, like any activist, were just trying to do what they thought was right and most of them were very kind.
But, the inaccurate information that was being spread is not beneficial to anyone.
One of the volunteers attempted to inform me that abortion was legal until the day before the due date. I refuted his statement with the fact that abortion is only legal at and after 20 weeks in the state of Oklahoma if the mothers life is at risk. He responded claiming that he didn’t have the statute with him so he wasn’t going to argue with me.
Another claimed that there are more families wanting to adopt than there are children available for adoption. However, that claim doesn’t quite like up with the fact that there are 10,000 children in Oklahoma’s foster care system at the moment.
Sure, maybe it was just those two guys who didn’t quite have all of his facts straight, but that means that those two guys shouldn’t be representing the cause. Those guys shouldn’t be in charge of answering students questions or presenting “facts” to anyone. How many people could they have provided those”facts” to that might not know the truth and might just take their word for it? Now we have inaccurate information being circulated and that interferes with peoples ability to form an educated opinion as well as make informed decisions.
It just seems irresponsible to me, and if you have to lie to get people on board with your cause, maybe you don’t have much of a cause.
So assemble. Have your voice heard, it’s your right after all, but think about how you’re getting your message across. More importantly, ensure that your facts truly are facts, otherwise all you’re doing is a disservice to your fellow man.