My stance on abortion after Monday's display

By KEREN BARUCH
On April 16, 2013

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On Monday, my views on abortion were genuinely challenged for the first time.

I have always supported a woman's right to choose. I still do. And it doesn't look like anything will change my mind.

However, during the heated debates that took place outside of the Student Union, due to the displays of bloody fetuses, Swastikas and a man being hanged, a part of me was somewhat disputed.

A boy approached me and said, "My birth was a result of a rape." His mother had been raped and she chose to go through with her pregnancy. He was lucky to have been given the right to life. It truly touched me to see and hear him so passionate because he feels so closely related to the topic of abortion.

I was emotionally swept by his story and admired his ability to stand up for his belief on the issue. But I stand true to my opinion. His mother had the right to make a choice; she made a good choice, which brought him into this world. However, it was still her choiceand I believe that every woman has the right to make one.

I also believe in the freedom of speech and watched a professor lose her First Amendment rights because she found the images displayed to be "profane." She was swearing at the images, only to be handcuffed by police. I followed her to the car she was being escorted to and told her I completely agreed with her stance. These images were appalling, comparing a woman's right to decide what she wants to do with her body to the Nazis actions against Jews in the Holocaust. 

Students for Life had the right to display their opinions. I believe the group did so too grotesquely, but it did succeed in starting conversation, which was its ultimate goal. However, I do not find it fair their members' right to protest such a sensitive topic on campus was given, but this professor's right to do the same was completely taken away.

While in handcuffs, she told me to say something, to stand up for my word and to make my point known. So for two hours and 46 minutes I stood outside of the Union and debated with those who have different viewpoints from me.

I found only one female willing to debate the anti-abortion side. Seventy-seven percent of people who are anti-abortions are men and 100 percent of them will never be pregnant, according to sheets of paper being handed out near this display. The majority of people outside the Union who were anti-abortion were men.

It was refreshing to see a student, who told me her name was Kim, attempting to find a solution to both sides of the case. She believed there should be a law stating that if there is reasonable doubt that a woman was raped and there is evidence to prove it, she should have the right to an abortion. It was bracing to hear her say this because the majority of others arguing said even in the case of rape, an abortion should not be permitted. I still disagreed with her opinion.

I believe mistakes happen and should not change a person's life forever if there is a way to take care of that mistake.

Someone I spoke to compared a pregnancy to lung cancer. She said if someone smokes for his or her entire life, then they deserve to have cancer - the same way if a woman has sex knowing she may get pregnant, she should deal with the circumstances.

My response? The person who has lung cancer should have the right to chemotherapy the same way that a woman who unintentionally becomes pregnant has the right to an abortion.

I asked a man what he would do if his 11-year-old daughter came home pregnant, and begged him to get an abortion because having this baby would lead her to become depressed and anxious, as it does to many women who choose to keep their unplanned child. He said because he is her legal guardian, he would not allow her to do so, but he would support her in her pregnancy and support her baby.

I don't see much support there at all. This man said he would support his daughter, however, he's denying her the right to do as she pleases with her body.

It repulsed me to hear this.

I believe every woman has the right to make a decision about her body.

I also did not find a single Jew willing to defend the comparison between the Holocaust and abortions. As a Jew, I found this offensive and inhumane. UB has a sizeable population of Jews - enough that classes are canceled for the important Jewish holidays, according to the UB Reporter. Thus, it's distressing that students whose grandparents have been a part of the Holocaust, walking around with tattoos on their bodies as reminders of the pain, are forced to see blown up, larger-than-life-sized images of Swastikas and bodies of dead Jews outside of the Union.

When I asked one of the people in charge of this display if there are any Jews on the team, he said they "once had a rabbi with them." That rabbi's name was not given and no further information about him or his stance was given.

I watched Jewish students feel revolted and disgusted by what was being presented on their campus.

I understand the reason these images were displayed was to cause debate and discussion. I do not believe the right images were displayed and I do not believe the right messages were being sent.

People clearly feel strongly about this topic and it was refreshing to see students argue their opinions and fight for their beliefs on such a seemingly apathetic campus. I am glad conversations were happening and people were getting riled up, but I genuinely am nauseated by the way Students for Life presented its case.

UB student Nicholas D'Angelo was the boy who approached me and told me his birth was a result of a rape. His email is ndangel@buffalo.edu and he said he "would love to enter into honest conversations on the topic and feel no shame with [his] story." Contact him if you would like to have an open discussion on the topic.

 

Email: keren.baruch@ubspectrum.com


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