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National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League

As a part of Minnesotas National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Tim Stanley came to inform us and promote involvement in pro-choice activism. He discussed his concern about the future of womens rights and present legislation and politics that can affect this issue. Such subjects discussed were the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and how this decision may be affected by the 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court case to ban the right of partial-birth abortions, teaching abstinence versus sex education, the 48-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed, lack of insurance coverage for abortions, the dominant pro-life representation in the House, and several others. This session was very informative, interesting, and interactive. I definitely left with things to think about. I think that it is very important to hear both sides of stories despite what you believe. And that is just what I did.

I grew up with 12 years of parochial schooling, my father is a deacon in the Catholic Church, my mother was employed by Natural Family Planning (NFP), and Ive attended Pro-life rallies on past Roe v. Wade anniversaries so I my education on one side of the subject is quite extensive. Ive been struggling between my religious beliefs and being a strong inter-dependent woman who wants to make a difference in the world and how I can correlate them into my own definition of feminism. Can I be a feminist and also have conflicting opinions to that of the movement as a whole such as being against abortion?

I hope so. It seems like there are some very important political matters in debate right now surrounding the issue of abortion, reproductive rights, and sex-education. I think that it is good that the Supreme Court is taking the case concerning partial-birth abortion. I think that this is particularly cruel and inhumane. I realized that I was in a room of pro-choicers but I was surprised at the support for partial-birth abortions. It makes me wonder if they know that a baby, up to the ninth month gestation, is delivered all but its head and then a scissors is put into its skull and the brains sucked out.

There is no way that I could support something like that. I think that insurance should not cover an abortion because it is not a disease or affliction but a baby. No matter if you are using all the precautionary measures, there are always risks and it is the individuals duty to act responsibly and be accepting of the result of those actions. Furthermore on the abortion issue, I think that at a minimum there should be the 48-hour waiting period. While it may be inconvenient, I think that this big of a decision should take considerable contemplation.

I wonder if, under the circumstances, one can make good decisions with the desperate feelings and emotional overload they are experiencing. The song, The Brick by Bens Fold Five depicts how devastating an abortion was to the relationship he was in. I cannot imagine the emotional aftermath of an abortion. The issue with teaching abstinence as sex education is something that I havent formed a firm opinion about. Being at Catholic schools, I got the biological aspect of sex in health class and the catholic belief that sex is for pro-creation as an act of love between a heterosexual, married couple.

In our society today, it seems impractical to expect people to abstain until marriage but I also think that the amount of people having sex with multiple partners is a staggering number. Our society is promoting sex so much that young adolescents feel pressure to have sex and this is where I think that teaching abstinence wouldnt hurt. There is no reason that twelve-year-olds should be having babies. I think that handing out condoms in high school may only encourage kids to have sex. If they so choose to have intercourse, contraceptives are sufficiently accessible.

During the discussion, there were references to those pro-lifers and how they would get in the faces of those opposed to them and not listen to what others have to say. I know that there are some pro-lifers who have demonstrated violence towards providers and supporters of abortion but by no means is that the majority. I am against every form of violence and, in no way, do I support that behavior. I feel that those at the session were reverse stereotyping. I heard that pro-choicers didnt like being called baby-killers but I also heard people referring to pro-lifers as unreasonable and unable to civilly debate the subject.

I was, also, amazed that Tim Stanley said that George W. Bush was a presidential candidate who has NO concern for women, their intelligence and integrity. I think that this is a very audacious and invalid judgment. One thing that I want to have is increased awareness of judgment of others according to their beliefs. I did learn a significant amount about legislation and politics involving the abortion issues that are currently under debate. I think that it is very important to follow the issues and be informed on both sides of a topic.

It is so crucial to voice your opinion to our government. We have the Freedom of Speech and need to use it. My viewpoint on abortion remains one that reflects the values and pro-life views that Ive grown up with. I believe that life begins at conception and that we have no rights to take away the right of life from the baby who is yet to have that Freedom of Speech. I feel that as a woman I can hold these opinions and voice them and demand to be heard and therefore, I can consider myself a feminist.

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