The Right to a Choice: Understanding the Positions of the Pro-Choice Movement

November 9, 2015

This past week, The Georgetown Academy, an online forum posted a piece entitled “How Dumb is H*yas for Abortion?” In an attempt to clear the air around this sensitive subject, I felt it important for our campus to highlight a few things about abortion, H*yas for Choice, and feminism in response to the article.

It must always be remembered that nobody is “pro-abortion.” People are pro-choice. People do not plan pregnancies for the purpose of having abortions. To be pro-choice, for me, is to recognize that one is not able to understand every single woman’s experience, circumstances, and reasoning that contribute to her choice to have an abortion. To be pro-choice is to understand that individuals have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and parenthood. To be pro-choice is to support the one in three American women who choose to have an abortion. Caroline Moley, a sophomore in the college and is a member of H*yas for Choice (HFC), expressed her sadness “that there are such ignorant and sexist people on this campus. I am pro choice but have nothing against people who are pro life. It is about respect. This article lacks respect and therefore its credibility is a joke. Also it’s H*yas for Choice, not abortion. Please check your facts.”

It isn’t the first time that radical pro life dogmatists have claimed that members of HFC, and, in general, all of those who hold feminist or pro-choice views at Georgetown ignore that we attend a Catholic university. With a crucifix in every non-government funded classroom (all Georgetown classrooms have a crucifix unless they are built with government money), the religious affiliation of our school is hard to miss. Indeed, we chose to come to Georgetown. We chose to fall in love with the beauty of tolerance, love, grace, diversity, and the whole-person education that Georgetown promises. I chose Georgetown because it offers an environment that allows us to think for ourselves, fight our own fights, and defend our personal beliefs.

Contrary to the author’s beliefs, that “Georgetown caters mainly to non-Catholics…[where the] majority of professors and administrators are liberals and progressives, many of whom are hostile to religion,” Georgetown is anything but hostile towards religion. There is a chaplain in every freshman hall, upperclassmen dorm, and apartment block on campus. I, personally, have never met or heard of a professor who openly opposes religion or Catholicism. Meanwhile, undergraduates at Georgetown are required to take at least two Theology courses. Engaging in discussion about religious application and tolerance, as Georgetown asks Hoyas to do, does not amount to hostility. This is a nuance overlooked in the author’s lazy attempt at discrediting the members of the Georgetown population who identify as pro-choice.

The author proclaimed that, “the only thing left-wing feminists at H*yas for Abortion have to do is refrain from imposing their morality on others, specifically, Catholics at Georgetown.” But the reality is that people advocating for choice are attempting to protect women’s rights to bodily autonomy, choice, and safety. 68,000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions. We can save more than 68,000 lives every year by providing safe abortion access. We all have the right to choices: from the man who takes his girlfriend to a Planned Parenthood clinic to the woman who sits next to him. The fight for the right to choose is not an attempt to push one’s “abortion morals” on others. Additionally, exercising disagreement and one’s right to freedom of speech does not make anyone a “fascist” or a “Catholic-hating bigot,” as the writer of this piece claimed. If attempting to express one’s opinion meant hating those who disagree, the brave “anonymous author” of this piece is certainly a fascist non-Catholic-hating bigot. He or she may also want to consider taking a Government class to learn the definition of “fascism.”

Sophia Kleyman, president of HFC has made it clear that H*yas for Choice is not fighting for university recognition or funding. They are fighting to make sure that all Hoyas—all people—have a voice and a choice when and whether they become a parent. They throw fundraising parties, host speakers, create dialogue, table, display signs in free-speech zones, and provide free condoms. They do not attempt to take away a single person’s right to not use birth control, to be a parent, or to have a child.

As someone completely unaffiliated with H*yas for Choice, I felt targeted and directly attacked by this piece. It went after the very values and beliefs I hold. The author of this piece attacked feminists as being “strong, smart and independent until things get a little bit difficult.” While I am a feminist and am pro-choice, these are not mutually exclusive. As a human being who believes that men and women should be treated equally (otherwise known as being a feminist), I do not believe that my emotional state is at all relevant here. We are all entitled to our own views and opinion. As an adamant pro-choice woman who supports H*yas for Choice, this article directly criticizes me. The author can criticize me for believing in male-female equality, they can attack me for being emotional and weak when things get tough, they can decide that I am a “fascist, Catholic-hating bigot,” they can claim that I don’t understand the US Constitution or the legal and religious principles of my university, and they can argue that I am unreasonably hostile and wildly hypocritical for purportedly denying my fellow students their religious freedoms. But at the end of the day, they can’t change my views through personal attacks and distortions. I am a feminist who will raise my voice on behalf of myself and others. I am confident that I am in the right in my fight for my rights, and those of others. And if the author of “How dumb is H*yas for Abortion? ” hates me because of our disagreement, that is their right. I will not hate them; I will simply pity them.

Allison Pfotzer is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.

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