It is to my continued delight to see how ASPSU is handling the current election situation. Normally, I would expect a quick decision without very much insight or investigation. I think that ASPSU is winning over the opinion of PSU students by very aggressively investigating this unique election situation.

ASPSU Election

It is to my continued delight to see how ASPSU is handling the current election situation. Normally, I would expect a quick decision without very much insight or investigation. I think that ASPSU is winning over the opinion of PSU students by very aggressively investigating this unique election situation. It does sadden me to see the low levels that were stooped to by this year’s candidates. Claiming election fraud, claiming racial slurs to win votes, and many other heavily advertised ways for parties to deliver votes to their own campaign just continued to show incompetence on both sides of the fence. It does sadden me to see that this election was nothing short of a mud slinging competition. The candidates should realize that they lose the faith of the student body at PSU when they cannot even speak of the positive changes they will bring to the school and student body, but only directly insult and trash each other. Both candidates and their constituents brought some very important issues and ways to solve them to this election. It only saddens me to see that this election was not about these issues. Sure, here and there you would see a flyer or a person handing out a pamphlet. But the only real interaction you saw between candidates was insulting and trash talking. You can measure the strength of a candidacy by the issues they continue to educate people about. You know you have complete incompetence when it turns into a he said-she said high school popularity contest. I want to congratulate ASPSU for continuing to act like college professionals. I am glad some people can.

Michael DeBenedetti

Center for Bio-Ethical Reform

Last week’s visit from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform was an appalling reminder of the serious lack of education and hard facts that most self-professed “pro-lifers” and their affiliated organizations use when arguing their stance on banning abortion. Innocent bystanders and those simply on their way to the library found themselves bombarded with images of the Holocaust and lynching, equating women faced with the deeply personal and difficult choice of abortion to Nazis and murderers. Yet there were several images that were glaringly absent from those displayed by the Center for Bio-Ethical reform. Among them, men-in any manner, shape or form.

Don’t get me wrong, there were several male members of the group present who were more than happy to offer their strict advise about what I should and shouldn’t do with my body–including many youth, one as young as 9 years old. But in the pictures where someone was holding the “saved” newborn baby, or in the shot of the frightened pregnant girl, the man–half of the biological causality of pregnancy, by the way–was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the issue of abortion was reduced entirely to a woman’s decision, something that her sexual partner is not involved with at all or held responsible for. Besides being obviously incomplete in addressing the issue, it is discriminatory towards men by insinuating they are not important in pregnancy-related decisions, and yet another example of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s–and many other pro-life groups’–completely anti-woman and borderline misogynist attitudes.

The quite obvious starting point in the process of thought behind the motivation to have an abortion is the question of abortion itself: Why? Why do people choose to terminate a pregnancy, given the emotional difficulty, societal stigma, financial cost and physical pain that are often associated with the procedure? Surely something greater than minor inconvenience! The first step the pro-life movement must take if they wish to become truly effective in their mission is to stop over-simplifying the decision to have an abortion. It is not something that happens just because the condom broke or the teenagers are scared to tell their parents–obviously millions of people (myself included!) are accidentally conceived this way and live to tell about it. The truth is that here are innumerable, highly-specified personal reasons that people choose to terminate pregnancies: personal medical well-being, the result of a rape or incest-related assault, financial feasibility, mental stability, population concern, fear of personal safety–equating the logic of making all abortion illegal regardless of reason to an unsafe, blanket-like tactic of control.

There is also the unfortunate reality that women who find themselves unintentionally pregnant are at a higher risk for being the victims of violence–another fact that the pro-life movement chooses to overlook. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that the most common cause of death amongst pregnant women is murder; these statistics do not include violent assaults on women meant to kill the unborn fetus, or other situations of domestic violence stemming from the unwanted pregnancy. And even the women who are able to safely complete their pregnancies are not free from all attacks. Within the casualty of everyday society, the single female parent is mocked and scorned, reduced to being labeled as a “welfare mother” or a “baby’s mamma.” How often have you heard the story of someone striking up a conversation with an attractive woman, only to hear the interaction ceased immediately upon finding out she had a child?

Yet pro-life organizations, such as the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, choose to turn their heads and ignore the validity of these realities in their campaign. They do not offer support or help for people–men and women–who find themselves enmeshed within one or many of these difficulties affiliated with an unplanned pregnancy. They simply state their personal moral beliefs, attempt to enforce them on others, and then point fingers, hurl accusation and sound their disapproving shame towards women alone.

Why not reverse this backwards cycle? Regardless of one’s personal stance in the issue of abortion, it’s fair to assess that organizations, such as the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and others, are misdirecting their efforts by focusing on attacking one of many possible resolutions to a problem (abortion), rather than actually doing the difficult work of attempting to mend the problem itself (unplanned pregnancy). Those who truly feel passionate and dedicated to the cause of limiting abortion should realize the best tactic is to help prevent these pregnancies instead of persecuting the women who find themselves in that position. History and statistics only re-enforce this knowledge: since 1969, the number of abortions performed in the U.S. each year has been steadily dropping, as rates of contraceptive use and availability have also steadily increased. Bluntly speaking, abortion has occurred for thousands of years regardless of legality, morality or safety, and will continue to occur. By wasting time, money and human effort on campaigns such as those PSU students were forced to observe in the Park Blocks last week, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform is only demonizing the pro-life cause, marring their public image and repulsing the same women that they claim to be “reaching out” to.

And for the record, it would be nice to see some of this “reaching out” directed to men as well. I am yet to see any “Put A Condom On” or “Don’t Rape Women” signs alongside the pictures of dead Holocaust victims, even though common biological knowledge of human reproduction would argue that the male is of equal importance in the creation of unplanned pregnancies. But apparently, you don’t even have to have common sense–let alone compassion for women, a true desire to fix a problem or rational thought–to be a member of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Raechel Sims