Pro-Life supporters and the shame campaign

Tyanna SlobeWhen I first learned what an abortion is I was decidedly pro-life. I don’t think that I would have put that particular label on myself at the time because I was also decidedly atheist, but I thought abortions were bad. However, by the time I got to highschool I realized the world does not revolve around me and therefore I should not push onto other people my own decisions about what I would or would not do with my body.

To this day I wouldn’t attempt to push my own views about abortion rights on anybody, and I stand with organizations who honestly give resources to women in order to help them make their own choices. On that note, there are far too many dishonest organizations that come to campus in an attempt to isolate and shame women.

Every year at CSU is filled with a variety of different religiously affiliated pro-life organizations attempts to shame people out of getting an abortion. Their creative endeavors include but are certainly not limited to giant posters, chalking the plaza and even writing shaming emails to Collegian writers who dare to speak up for reproductive justice.

In both 2008 and 2010 Colorado voters rejected the Personhood Initiatives — in both cases, more than 70 percent voted against defining fetuses as people. This reflects the fact that most of us over 18-year-old voters already disagree with the idea that fetuses are people.

To be honest, I don’t really care what you think about fetuses. Most of us formed our opinions about abortion by eighth grade speech class and debated the topic through high school with our peers. At this point it feels like a completely worthless debate. Most college students already know how they feel about abortion; nobody is convincing many of us either way.

More than anything, what bothers me about these campus efforts is their attempt to shame the many women and couples who have gone through an abortion.

Approximately 1.3 million abortions are performed in the United States every year — compared to about 4 million births, and roughly 500,000 miscarriages.An estimated 35 percent of women undergo an abortion during their reproductive years. Abortions are not unusual. Yet, campaigns like Justice for All’s anti-abortion posters or the Alpha Center’s “hearts for every unplanned pregnancy at CSU this year” are completely isolating to these women. They aim to provoke conversations about making the decision of whether or not to have an abortion, and in doing so they disapprobate and isolate those of us who already had to decide.

Given the tense political and cultural climate surrounding abortion, it’s clear why many people would not want to come forward with their positive abortion stories. Women who have had abortions are in no way alone, but shame campaigns are isolating toward these individuals. If I were one of the million-plus women who had an abortion this past year, would I feel comfortable standing on the stump yelling about how awesome of a decision it was next to giant posters claiming that I had “committed genocide?” No, probably not.

There plenty of reasons why shame campaigns on our campus should provoke a negative response from you. You might be upset about campus efforts that are putting so much effort into shaming women who have sex rather than putting money toward helping the living children who die every day in war zones. You might be upset because nobody can tell you what to do with your body. You might even agree with their ends, but find their tactics reprehensible.

It’s time to start channeling our anger about campus shame campaigns toward standing up for the people on our campus that have had abortions. The majority of Colorado residents stand with pro-choice decisions, and if you’re with the majority start standing up for the individuals who are exercising those choices. Nobody deserves to be isolated through shaming attempts.

There are plenty of organizations like the Women and Gender Advocacy Center whose aim is not to shame, but to educate people about their options. If you are having difficulties after an abortion, know that you’re not alone either. These non-biased organizations can help you in a way that is not designed to make you feel bad about your choices.

If you have had an abortion, you are not alone. I am not alone in standing up for your difficult decision — despite the isolating efforts of shame campaigning pro-lifers. I support your decision and so do the majority of Colorado voters. Shame on those who attempt to shame you.

Tyanna Slobe is a senior English language and spanish double major. Her column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and Feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com