Ann fields a question from a Wesleyan student at the Feb. 28 talk [Photo by Dan Gura]
Stephanie Jaeckel, president of the Titan Pro-Life Club at Illinois Wesleyan University, invited Joe and me to address the school’s students on the status of the pro-life movement. We took advantage of the February 28 event to launch the Pro-Life Action League’s Roe v. Wade education campaign.
Both the pro-life and the pro-abortion forces are anticipating the fall of Roe v. Wade in the not-too-distant future. The Roberts and Alito hearings were all about abortion and the future of Roe v. Wade. Several states, including South Dakota, Georgia and Mississippi are enacting legislation to outlaw most abortions. The League is seizing the moment and making the Roe education campaign a central theme for the year.
Americans Do Not Understand Roe
“After thirty-three years of Roe v. Wade most people do not understand what Roe says,” said Joe. “Hardly anyone has actually read the 1973 Opinion, including the reporters who routinely misrepresent the scope of Roe and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion for the full nine months of a woman’s pregnancy.”
Approximately a third of the Illinois Wesleyan audience was pro-abortion. Several students were distributing anti-Scheidler literature at the entrance to the Hansen Student Center. The week before the talk, abortion proponents had ripped down most of the posters advertising the Scheidlers’ talk. In response the University replaced the signs, posting them in locations where they would be in the line of sight of security cameras. The dean also sent a mass email to the student body inviting them to the talk.
Joe and I presented background information on society’s historical prohibition of abortion from religious and legal perspectives. We then outlined the provisions of Roe v. Wade and the impact of the 1973 decision on American culture. Joe had asked the audience to set aside any preconceived ideas they may have come with and to listen with an open mind. However, once the floor was opened for questions it was clear that several students had come armed with a bias in favor of abortion.
Ann Highlights Help for Women
One student accused the pro-life movement of offering nothing to help pregnant women once they decide against abortion. I assured him that the 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the country could provide any material needs a woman had and that it was never necessary for a woman to choose abortion due to a lack of available help. Another male student claimed that childbirth was much harder for a woman than abortion, so wasn’t abortion preferable? I drew on my own experience of seven childbirths and informed the young man that my appendectomy was much worse than childbirth. And, I said, the pain of childbirth was not a valid excuse for killing the child.
Joe assured the audience that Roe v. Wade was such bad law and bad policy that it would eventually be overturned, and he challenged the students to take a serious interest in the abortion issue, and to help transform our culture into a culture of life.