Oct 052004
Authors: Karissa Ciarlelli

Amid a background of graphic images depicting aborted fetuses

Tuesday on the Lory Student Center Plaza, abortion discussions

centered on the question of when life begins.

Justice For All, an anti-abortion non-CSU organization, as well

as abortion rights groups, such as Life and Liberty for Women, have

been voicing their opinions, presenting information and engaging

students in discussions on the Plaza since Monday.

“The position of Life and Liberty for Women is that each woman

should have the right to decide for herself when life begins based

on her own set of religious and moral values,” said Peggy Loonan,

the organization’s director and founder. “It should not be based on

public policy.”

However, JFA supports the scientific definition of the beginning

of life – the development of a human being begins with

fertilization, a process where a sperm unites with an ovum.

“If the decision of when life begins was left up to the

individual, we would have chaos in our society,” said Tammy Cook,

the director of field operations and spokeswoman for JFA.

Meagan Hoff, a sophomore zoology major, disagreed.

“Life begins when the baby can survive on its own; when the

fetus is independent of its mother,” Hoff said.

Abortion rights groups present on campus emphasized that

anti-abortionists invade a woman’s privacy and that the government

has no place in a woman’s personal health decisions.

“As long as the fetus is in her body, it’s her choice what she

wants to do,” said Sarah Stremming, a freshman psychology


JFA strongly supports adoption for unwanted babies and parenting

without violence. As for the issue of an unwanted baby conceived

during a rape, JFA asks people to consider if there is any

difference between a baby conceived in hate and a baby conceived in


Still, heated discussions prevailed, as abortion rights groups

rallied that it should be an individual choice.

“What a woman does with her body is none of (the government’s)

business. If you don’t believe abortion is OK, then don’t have one.

Religious organizations such as Justice For All, who graces us with

their gruesome, over-the-top visual assault on campus have no

foundation to stand on once you take away the moral or religious

argument. Come to me with an argument that has nothing to do with

religion and morality and I’ll be open to listening,” said Jennifer

Williams, an abortion rights activist.

The issue of making abortion illegal was equally heated.

Life and Liberty for Women emphasized keeping abortion legal for

the health and safety of women, Loonan said. She said making

abortion illegal will not stop abortion from happening, nor will it

save babies.

“It will make it more dangerous for women. There is a better

way, which is through reducing unintended pregnancies,” Loonan


On the other side, Cook explained that JFA does not push for

political causes.

“Our goal is not to make abortion illegal. We’re here for

educational purposes,” Cook said.

While the two women believe in different ideals, Loonan still

believes there are issues to be discussed regarding sexuality.

“There clearly is a problem with teenage sexuality. We can’t

stop them, but we can educate them about why it is important to

abstain or protect themselves. It is a responsibility of all

parents to arm their children with more information than just

abstinence only because we know that won’t work,” she said.

According to a study the STD Prevention Conference released in

March 2004, 88 percent of 12,000 teenagers who pledged to remain

abstinent until they were married broke the pledge by engaging in

pre-marital sex.

JFA spokesperson Cook said she is opposed to nearly all types of

birth control, especially emergency contraception, as she believes

it is dangerous to women’s health. She is also opposed to the birth

control pill because she views it as a form of abortion.

“The birth control pill can prevent a fertilized egg from

implantation in the uterus,” she said.

Cook said her abortion rights group emphasizes abstinence

because there does not seem to be a foolproof method of birth

control, yet she believes her group is making an impact by causing

people to think more about possible consequences before engaging in

sexual activity.

“After viewing the exhibit many males have told us that they

were going to give serious thought before engaging is sexual

activity in the future,” Cook said.

While the display provoked discussion, Becky Siska-Salkin, a

freshman political science major, believes the issues could have

been presented more effectively.

“I understand that they have a point to express, but they could

have done it more respectfully,” Siska-Salkin said.

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