Abortion is a controversial topic here on campus, albeit one that is not often discussed. We’re grateful for the opportunity to have a healthy dialogue about it. Regardless of your position, or lack of one, a constructive discussion is needed. Last week, SPU senior Christine Smith asked The Falcon to publish her personal story about the abortion she had freshman year. She described the context of her decision and asked those who oppose abortion to be more gracious and sensitive to women who have had the same experience. The Falcon strives to be a platform for these types of discussions and will continue to do so in the future as long as students are willing to share their views. Several online comments on the article, some edited, are below.
Christine, I admire your boldness and am grateful that you are willing to speak on behalf of a population at SPU that definitely does not consist of you alone. Other women on our campus have experienced stories much like your own — a reality that needs to be addressed with care and grace and support. While the Students for Life club aims to support alternatives to abortion, the crossfire seems to inadvertently have a hurtful impact on students. I would love to see them not only expose their beliefs on abortion, but also look for ways to provide support and direction to women who have already been down that road. Shame is not an effective means to guide women’s decisions, and I respect that you demonstrate the boldness to share your honest story. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving other students the hope that they are not alone. You are a strong and brave woman.
— Anonymous reader
Christine, Your bravery in composing this is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for having the courage to share your thoughts with our campus. This perspective is so valuable, and at the same time, it has been largely ignored around campus. I too, felt that this demonstration was particularly cruel and insensitive, and your story speaks to the fears I had for women on our campus who had gone through the experience of having an abortion. Thank you for shedding light on this side of the issue, and for acknowledging the destruction that certain demonstrations can cause when they neglect to see how it could impact some. Hopefully the leadership of these kinds of movements will find more tactful and sensitive ways of approaching this issue.
— Anonymous reader
Thank you for sharing your story. I will voice what others have in saying that you are NOT alone. But unlike the others, I will also tell you that are NOT guilty, you have not sinned, and you should not be ashamed. Don’t waste a single moment feeling regret that “adoption never crossed your mind.” Even if it had crossed your mind, you weighed your options and found that abortion was the best choice — and doubtless it was, or you wouldn’t have chosen it. Being part of a Christian community that gives zero support to unwed mothers leaves women with unexpected pregnancies precious few options. Don’t apologize.
I’m grateful to Christine for writing out her thoughts. She voiced what many are likely thinking on our campus and elsewhere. One of the reasons I engage in abolitionist agitation is to try to spark conversations like this that otherwise would never occur. She writes: “There’s no way I’m alone.” I know for a fact she is NOT alone. This is precisely why such demonstrations and posters exist, to address the abortion pandemic that goes on silently and constantly amongst our family, our friends and our churches. We call people to repent of abortion, to repent of apathy about abortion — the mindset that doesn’t see a neighbor and the image of God in every human being, born or preborn. Society (even the church) is in such a state that abortion is thought of as merely a “difficult decision,” when in reality, it is more than a difficult decision; it is a sin — the deliberate taking of innocent human life that leaves one dead and one wounded. If we don’t see it as sin, we can’t confess and repent of it as sin. If we can’t repent of it, we can’t receive forgiveness and the reconciliation offered by Christ. And this is what we want — reconciliation. We want abortion to be unthinkable, so women in the future will not be driven by a feeling of necessity toward it. We want the believers around them to rise to the occasion and help them raise their children rather than kill them. I have stood outside Planned Parenthood offering help, adoption or assistance to parents taking their children in to be killed. Many of them swear at me or walk right past. Most don’t want assistance; they want to get rid of their child quickly and to get on with their lives because they’ve believed that abortion is a difficult choice — not a great evil. If there were a way to reveal the horrific nature of abortion without the risk of alienating those who have aborted their children; believe me, we would do it. Christine calls on-campus demonstrations “slander.” Slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation. What false statement has been made? We state that her child was a human being made in the image of God, that her child’s death was one of millions. The red flags in Tiffany Loop placed by Students for Life were each a small acknowledgment of individual living human beings, now dead because of abortion. Ought they to be forgotten? Who is their voice? They don’t have the opportunity to speak for themselves, to write letters to the editor. They are no longer with us. More will join them in biohazard waste bins tomorrow, and the next day — until abortion is abolished. Is acknowledging their lives too harsh of a demonstration? If it is, what is left to say on their behalf? William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist who tirelessly worked to end slavery in America, was constantly urged not to call slavery a sin that required repentance. He was told he was “bound in Christian charity to avoid all intemperance in writing or speaking upon a subject so intimately connected with the existence of our Southern brethren.” To such censures he replied: “O that my countrymen might feel as keenly for a black skin as for a white one.” And: “On this subject I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house in on fire to give a moderate alarm … but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.” People like Christine are not alienated by us. We would be privileged to embrace her and encourage her to join us in repentance, free from the anger and guilt she describes. Christine, you can repent of abortion and be reconciled to God. You (hopefully) have a long and fruitful life ahead of you. The children who will be killed by abortion tomorrow will not. Christine, you are my neighbor, but your child was also my neighbor. All the children being cut apart by curettage and suctioned out of the womb are our neighbors, too. Christine, I don’t want to alienate you. I want you to join us. You can stand side by side with us to speak out on behalf of those children who shouldn’t have to die because their parents live in a society where abortion seems like a viable choice.
— Judah Ivy, SPU student
Judah, I respect your beliefs and Students for Life’s right to gather and demonstrate as a club, but what I think this article was trying to point out was that the red flags and the countless demonstrations/posters/events make those of us who have had an abortion feel ostracized and triggers a great deal of pain and shame. The decision to have an abortion is a personal one. It was MY decision, not yours. You do not know the circumstances that I found myself in, and you know nothing of the painful health risks that pregnancy and childbirth posed for me. My abortion was a decision that haunts me, but one that I would make again if I found myself in the same situation today. The truth is, every woman who has had an abortion has a different story. Mine was one of poor health and a high-risk pregnancy. Yet your club is so quick to pass judgement and so quick to sweep all of the facts under the rug. I have attended multiple demonstrations and multiple forums that your club has put on, hoping to hear a positive message and hoping to hear different stories and circumstances surrounding abortion. Instead, I heard one-sided theological rants. Every time I have left one of your events, I have left in absolute tears. Yet I came back hoping for some reconciliation. I have given up on trying to hear a two-sided story at Students for Life. Although I don’t agree with them, I respect your opinions and your right to voice them. I will never ask that your club disbands or stops putting on events because it is your right to do so. All I ask is that you approach such a sensitive and personal subject with tact and care. Think of your fellow students who have suffered through the pain of pregnancy and abortion before you publicly condemn them and attempt to use shock value to get people to join your side. The topic of abortion is not as one sided as you think.
— Anonymous reader “N.”