As a moderate-conservative politics student at USF, my opinions are often unwelcome amongst my peers. I don’t mind the opposition — in fact, I enjoy it. I came to USF, the second most diverse university in the country, to be immersed in as many perspectives as possible. But I’ve found that I don’t often get the chance to discuss my perspectives in San Francisco. It’s time to break the ice on the issue of abortion, a topic close to my heart, and stand up to a national tragedy.
I believe that life, beginning at conception, must be protected and celebrated. Every abortion is a tragic loss of human life that has been normalized in our political stratum, which is why I fervently oppose it.
According to data gathered from over 5,000 biologists from over 80 countries, a majority of scientists, even those that support the practice of abortion, believe that life begins at conception. The idea that a fetus is “just a clump of cells” is scientifically inaccurate. Each fetus is completely genetically unique; it is a whole new person. The only thing that separates you and I from an unborn child is our level of development, and level of development may well be something that separates me from you.
Abortion has roots in eugenics, starting with the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, a mid-20th century advocate for birth control. While the degree to which Sanger participated in the eugenics community is debated by historians, her involvement in eugenics ought to raise alarm. Time Magazine quoted Sanger in 1921 as saying, “The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.” Planned Parenthood denounced these beliefs with a statement in 2021. Despite this denunciation, the modern abortion-rights argument does not have more solid foundational beliefs.
Between 1995 and 2011, up to 85% of pregnancies that received a Down syndrome diagnosis were terminated, according to a systematic review published in the scientific journal, Prenatal Diagnosis. This is an uncharted number of children lost to abortion simply because they were diagnosed with Down syndrome, which reinforces Sanger’s ideology. The idea that people have the right to choose whether or not their children get to live based on the relative level of convenience that child’s needs may present is irreconcilably linked to eugenics.
Poverty is another common tool in the argument for abortion. However, the idea that a violent prenatal death (whether that violence is carried out surgically or via a pill like mifepristone) is a better option than living in poverty is equally reflective of eugenics. Death can’t be preferable to a life in poverty — and families or society are not better off without children. Raising children is hard and expensive, and the anti-abortion movement seeks to alleviate that as much as possible. Prominent anti-abortion organizations, like Live Action, have resources for those contemplating abortion, including adoption, housing, and health care.
Many advocates for abortion repeat the narrative that this is a women’s rights issue. They say legislators’ encroachment on their personal decisions is a form of controlling and oppressing women. I am very wary of government overreach, but I believe elected officials are responsible for protecting the people they represent, which includes the unborn. To do so, they must stop the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood alone made $1.7 billion in 2021, including all their services. Not only are children being murdered in this industry, but people are profiting from it.
I am not here to judge or shame people who felt abortion was their only option. My heart goes out to people who become pregnant as a result of rape, a crime which no one should ever have to endure. They deserve access to the health care, child care, and support that they need to raise their kids, and their kids deserve to have a life. My heart is also with people who were conceived as a result of rape. The anti-abortion movement is here to say that your worth does not come from the circumstances around your conception. As we struggle with the issue of abortion, especially as it relates to rape, we must hold rapists accountable. For example, Florida legislators are in the process of passing HB 1297, a bill which would give child rapists the death penalty.
I am a practicing Christian, and my faith largely influences my opinions. My faith is important to me; I am proud to be a follower of Christ. But I do not want my arguments to be written off as a strictly religious perspective. My faith gives me, among other things, a respect and awe for human life that drives my politics.
Right-wing Christians are not the only group who oppose abortion. For example, the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising is an organization committed to uplifting “secular, feminist, liberal, and LGBTQIA+ identifying pro-life voices, especially those belonging to people of color,” according to their website, in addition to their anti-capitalist agenda. Barriers of faith or political party should not impede on the basic human right to be born.
Look around and you will see a new revolution. As a more liberal generation rises, there is a misconception that in a few decades, political ideologies currently considered forward thinking will win out in law, that the people who fight for what the majority doesn’t believe in will simply die away. But this isn’t how history works. Young people are driving the fight against abortion because young people see a future where everyone’s right to life is protected.
There’s political stalemate in the debate around abortion. Abortion is a massive issue, and it is too complex for one op-ed to cover. It is likely that readers of the Foghorn don’t agree with any point I’ve made. I want to encourage real discussion on the matter. We need to be inviting a more diverse school of opinions to influence thought on this campus. Certainly USF students are talking about abortion — this is a very politically involved campus — but without opposition to liberal arguments, it isn’t really a discussion. We might think that we are having a discussion about abortion, but we’re really just talking about it in echo-chambers.
Institutions like USF should embrace delicate situations, and create academic spaces for them to be hashed out to create thoughtful leaders. Without discussion, we will never stop talking, and we will keep losing precious life.