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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Pro-lifers should support sex ed... but pro-lifers aren't welcome in our sex ed club!"

[Today's guest post is by Rebecca Stapleford.]

As a pro-life activist who supports comprehensive sex education, reliable contraception, and pro-life legislation to reduce the number of abortions performed, I was deeply disheartened to learn that my university’s sex education club, which is officially connected to my university’s student health center, is officially pro-choice. 

This revelation came during the graphic image displays of aborted fetuses hosted by my Students for Life club, when the sex education club came out to counter-protest. The president of the club not only falsely claimed that the images were of stillborns, but also claimed that her club officially supported legalized abortion as a matter of public health. When I challenged her on these claims, she admitted that this entire controversy was about whether or not the fetus is a human being, and she believes that the fetus does not become a human being until it is able to survive on its own without medical assistance.

Throughout the day, I was repeatedly told by pro-choice counter-protesters that I needed to support comprehensive sex education and contraception if I was opposed to abortion. Most were shocked when I expressed support for such social policies. But if I were to try to become active in promoting such things on my campus, I would be excluded from doing so by the sex education club because of my political pro-life beliefs!

The sex ed club’s insistence on taking a stance on abortion means that they have fewer opportunities to reach and to educate their fellow students who are pro-life about safer sex. After all, if you alienate a certain segment of the student body, they are less likely to listen to what you have to say.

Sadly, my university is not unique in this situation. The research that I have done indicates that many clubs and organizations, student-led or otherwise, which promote comprehensive sex education and contraception also take a very pro-choice stance on the issue of abortion. This excludes pro-life individuals from being involved and furthers the stereotype that pro-lifers don’t support such efforts. Then when we proclaim our support for pro-life legislation, we are accused of not really wanting to end abortion and of wanting simply to oppress women because we allegedly do not support policies like comprehensive sex education. This hostile attitude leads to many pro-life advocates not even bothering to consider supporting comprehensive sex education and contraception. Those who do continue to be excluded by both communities... and the cycle repeats itself.

At the end of the day, this cycle of distrust harms unborn children and sexually active women and men alike.

36 comments:

Crystal Kupper said...

Is there no common sense left in the world?

Marauder said...

I think a similar thing happens a lot with GLBT organizations - they decide to be officially pro-choice, so pro-lifers don't join them, so then A) the organizations think pro-lifers are all homophobic and B) pro-lifers who aren't GLBT-supportive or haven't thought much about GLBT rights see the stance that organizations have and conclude that all GLBT people and allies are pro-choice. I don't get why various groups feel the urge to take official stances on issues that exist outside the group's purpose.

Johnny said...

As someone who is both LGBT and pro-life, that makes a lot of sense. But I'd also add that there is a disgusting amount of homophobia in some pro-life groups and websites.
Which is incredibly damaging to both LGBT people and the pro-life cause. Imagine a person with no strong opinions on abortion, but see a group venting hate at LGBT people. Are you going to believe that they really care about other human beings? Or are you going to think they want to impose their religious beliefs on everyone regardless of how that can harm people? Especially considering that most people nowadays have LGBT family or friends.

JDC said...

There's very little of it. I think they're going to have to start calling it uncommon sense.

KM Misener said...

Hear, hear. I think it is really unfortunate that abortion advocates have managed to conflate abortion with contraception in the public mind. Why would someone who supports contraception use be any more in favor of abortion than they are in favor of infanticide? When women have actual control over their reproduction, unplanned pregnancies don't happen. Abortion is a symptom of the failure of adequate sex ed and contraception use.

KM Misener said...

I think the vast majority of us on this website agree with you that anti-gay rhetoric is counterproductive. I try to avoid giving any support or attention to pro-life groups that make anti-gay statements.

KM Misener said...

I think this happens at least in part because abortion advocates intentionally try to piggyback on other causes. Very few people actually like the idea of dismembering a fetus, but many people want to be seen as favoring "equality" or "women's rights". If you can get people to think that abortion is part of what it means to favor "equality" or "women's rights", it's a lot easier to gain support for abortion than if abortion had to be judged on its own. It amused me when I once saw an abortion advocate posting things about abortion on a gay rights forum online and several gay men responded saying "Stop bring this up here. Gay men don't have unplanned pregnancies". :) (even though I know there are cases where LGBT people do have hetero relationships before coming out)

Coyote said...

"she believes that the fetus does not become a human being until it is able to survive on its own without medical assistance."

Using such a/a similar rationale, one can say that adult humans who need kidney transplants/blood transfusions/bone marrow donations/liver part donations are not "human beings" since they cannot survive by themselves either (for long, anyway).

And Yes, I certainly agree with your overall points in this article, with which I think that you did a great job. :)

argent said...

Funny how you always here that "half of women who abort were using birth control", but not the abortion rates for couples using birth control consistently and correctly, which are very low.

And "Why would someone who supports contraception use be any more in favor of abortion than they are in favor of infanticide?" is something I want on a t-shirt.

Marauder said...

There are a lot of really unfortunate assumptions on both sides that abortion and GLBT rights are somehow similar enough that being for ones means you're automatically for the other. I've seen lots of pro-choice GLBT advocates lump them both together under "the government shouldn't be able to tell us what to do with our bodies" a lot.

Marauder said...

"It amused me when I once saw an abortion advocate posting things about abortion on a gay rights forum online and several gay men responded saying essentially: "Stop posting about abortion. Gay men don't have unplanned pregnancies". :) (even though I know there are cases where LGBT people do have hetero relationships before coming out)"


Pregnancy isn't exactly something outside the scope of LGBT experience, especially when you take the "B" into account, but yes, there's not any automatic connection between LGBT rights and what people think about abortion.

Marauder said...

"They often try to tie the issues together as being about "preserving the traditional family" or something. To me, though, that's not what abortion is about. It's about simply saying "Killing people is wrong". That's it. Nothing else."


Seriously! I've quit reading various pro-life websites because the people who ran them kept posting about GLBT news stories in such a way that you could tell they assumed everyone who was pro-life was going to agree with them. One that really turned me off was somebody's post about how awful it was that Chastity (as he was still known at the time) Bono was getting a sex change, and I was like, "Unless part of Chaz Bono's sex change involves getting a hysterectomy while pregnant, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ABORTION?!"

GEIxBattleRifle said...

''They often try to tie the issues together as being about "preserving the traditional family" or something.''

Some pro lifer's I know talk about this to restore ''family'' values. We know though when they say that, they're talking about ideal family values.

Because the ideal family values back in the Roman times was to decide whether to keep newborn babies. After birth, the midwife placed newborn humans on the ground: only if the family picked it up was the newborn human formally accepted into the family.

If the decision went the other way, the newborn human was exposed deliberately abandoned outside. This usually happened to deformed newborn humans, or when the father did not think that the family could support another child. Babies were exposed in specific places and it was assumed that an abandoned baby would be picked up and taken.
So hey if pro lifer's want to go back to the past let's go all the way not stop at a ''particular'' point that you liked that suites your philosophy. We can even go more further back then the Roman times even.

Chris P said...

No - you saying that you are against abortion means that you are telling people who have been raped, are miscarrying, are too young to carry or likely to have their lives messed up by going to term are wrong to abort. In fact it is none of your damn business.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

My friend had a baby that she wanted when she was pregnant. After she gave birth, she didn't want him anymore. Since some philosophers say that infants aren't persons because they aren't self-aware, I don't really have the right to force my personal views on her by denying her the right to infanticide, do I? Her life will be messed up if she keeps him, after all...

Chris P said...

Philosophers don't write the rules.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

Why shouldn't they? After all, they spend a lot of time thinking critically about these issues...

Chris P said...

Spending time thinking doesn't substitute for reality.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

The reality is that infants don't know that they exist. Multiple scientific experiments have proven this true. The reality is that some highly educated philosophers and bioethicists with a lot more knowledge than you or I think that infants are not persons and should not have human rights, including the right to life. The reality is, when we criminalize infanticide we are forcing our personal beliefs about personhood on other people whose life situations we do not know because we aren't in their shoes.

Chris P said...

They can think what they like. This was certainly the way things were years ago.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

Yes, many cultures did not see anything wrong at all with infanticide. Today it is legal in the Netherlands for disabled infants.

Chris P said...

No - it's ILLEGAL,. Please do better research.

Chris P said...

The latest that I could find was that it was illegal but could be done without being charged if certain guidelines were being followed. The Dutch are much more rational when it comes to life and death decisions. The US is more more aligned with the Monty Python song "Every sperm is sacred" - except of course when it comes to humans that are already alive - shooting them and running over them with your car is "OK"

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

It is called the Groningen Protocol. Physicians who follow it are not prosecuted. Out of curiosity, do you think that euthanasia of disabled infants is a good and rational idea?

Chris P said...

Not really sure. What I do see is the enormous amount of effort and money that is required to keep some of them alive. Local school districts have to expend enormous resources on some students for someone, in some cases, who is never going to be a contributor to society. While the parents are younger many are able to cope but this does not continue for life. The "we love them and they are so giving" only works for so long and clearly in earlier society would not have worked. Most people are unaware of handicapped people because they are still, mostly, kept out of sight.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

How do you define contributing to society? Would you feel comfortable looking a severely disabled person in the eye and telling them that they are a burden on society? Have you checked your able-bodied privilege? Because what I'm seeing from you is a lot of ableism and ableist bigotry. Attitudes like yours made both me and my sister suicidal in high school , because we saw ourselves as worthless burdens on society.

Chris P said...

So now you resort to personal attacks and play the victim card. If all you can supply is insults you are no better than the religious clowns.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

You've resorted to personal attacks and very emotional and irrational arguments in your past postings, so your attacks are hypocritical. And yeah, when people such as yourself degrade your entire existence and the existence of your sister and some of your good friends, I do tend to get emotional. What you're saying is that disabled people have less of a right to life and human services than non-disabled people, because "we cost too much money", well, Hitler used that same reasoning with his T-Aktion program, which forcibly euthanisized thousands of disabled individuals because they were deemed "unworthy lives." I have other disabled friends tell me that they are seriously considering suicide because they feel like a burden on society because they cannot hold down a job. Attitudes like yours kill people like my friends, just like homophobic attitudes contribute to the suicides of gay individuals.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

In the past, you've played the victim card with regards to abortion and rape, so why can't I? Is it just okay when you do it, but not when other people do?

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

As, I recall, as of your posts here have been a bunch of personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with you. You've gone out of your way to do this repeatedly. If you can't take it, don't dish it.

Tullia_Ciceronis said...

You appear to be an elderly individual. How would you like if young people such as myself decided to forcibly euthanize you, whether you liked or not, because you cost too much money? After all, elderly individuals don't work anymore, so they aren't being productive, and they often require lots of extremely expensive medical care. Even if you've worked up until retirement, often even that is not enough to pay for your declining years, especially when you factor in medical expenses, and in many European countries, there are not enough young people to shoulder the economic burden of the enormous elderly population.

Chris P said...

Screw you and your ageism remarks - God what a freakng jerk you are, I work FULL TIME creating new products for people to use and was moving tons of gravel by hand at the weekend. Moron.

Chris P said...

Well then - get lost. You've turned into a moron too.

Chris P said...

Is this supposed to add to the conversation?

Chris P said...

Oh - now we're playing the Hitler card. Totally reached the bottom of the barrel there.

Chris P said...

So we have gone from talking maturely about a subject to you now throwing victim cards right left and center. .