Students take stance against abortion

Alissa Ricci

Where were you at 6:30 a.m. on the Saturday morning after Hoops Mania? A group of just eight students was on its way to participate in a vigil outside a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia. These students are members of Villanovans for Life, the pro-life organization on campus. Despite the celebratory nature of this past weekend, VFL members hoped to take one last stand against abortion before the presidential election next Tuesday.

But how important is the issue of abortion for the next president? Obama’s position is generalized to be “pro-choice,” while McCain is known as the “pro-life candidate.” Stances on abortion notwithstanding, each candidate focuses more heavily on promotion of their respective health care and economic revival plans. In the final debate on Oct. 15, only one of the nine questions addressed the issue of abortion. The majority of the debate questions concentrated on topics ranging from education to the national deficit.

Most of us will never have the kind of power that the president does to directly impact the course of the pro-life/pro-choice movements that have emanated since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Whether Obama or McCain is elected, the next president will most likely appoint one or two Supreme Court justices who will handle a rising case against Roe v. Wade, possibly overturning the laws regarding abortion in our country.

However, the members of Villanovans for Life say they believe that they have a direct impact on the outcome of the abortion issue. A group of about 100 people, ranging from high schoolers to senior citizens, show up at Planned Parenthood every Saturday morning, when abortion services are believed to take place. This fact has not been confirmed by Planned Parenthood as true, although Planned Parenthood does perform abortions. The vigil is a peaceful protest against abortion held across the street from the clinic. The participants pray rosaries out loud and sing worship songs. They do not hold up signs or yell out to women and their escorts entering the clinic. Police officers supervise the vigil and set up barriers to prevent protestors from getting out of hand.

Villanovans for Life members report that they have never seen a woman turn back from walking into the clinic, but they say they are certain that they are making a difference.

“Even if we don’t see women turning back, there might be some women who decide not to come that day or who turn back before we can see them,” member Clare Oven says. “Also, our continued presence is a constant challenge to the PP escorts and the PP employees. If we we’re not there, they would not be challenged to re-think their ideas.”

Member Susanna Seibert hopes that the vigil helps all those out there who believe that abortion is the best option, not just those who are faced with a decision on whether or not to abort.

The vigil does not just affect those using Planned Parenthood services. People who travel through the neighborhood, whether on foot or by car, have their attention called to the issue of abortion by the people standing on the side of the road.

“So many people ignore the issue of abortion because they are not confronted with it,” Oven says.

However, the upcoming election is a chance for all citizens to consider the issue.

For Villanovans for Life, the issue of abortion is a driving force that affects for whom they will vote.

“If the country elects pro-life candidates, millions of innocent human lives will be protected,” member Amanda Troelsch says. “If this does not happen, we will be depriving this country of its most fundamental resource: life.”

Freshman David Disabato says he believes the issue of abortion “affects a small range of people, but who the next president is affects the entire nation.” Every voting-age citizen has a stake in the future of debates between pro-life and pro-choice supporters, even if they do not take that into account.

In fact, many students interviewed who were not part of Villanovans for Life were adamant that voting should not be based on a single issue, such as abortion. Sophomore Julia Carey describes the voting process as one in which a voter chooses a candidate that “reflects the voters’ thoughts and ideals for the country.” She says that this cannot be done by basing a vote on one subject and that many more topics need to be considered before putting someone in office.

Senior Michael Hallman begs to differ. He says that treating abortion as the single most important issue is “not single-issue voting; it’s weighted voting, and the weight of abortion, which is an attack on life, is proportionally greater than any other issue we face in this issue.”

He says that he recognizes there are other issues to be considered, but they carry a lesser weight for him.