Ironically, while Charles Gray admonishes pro-choice advocates for using rhetoric instead of facts, his only justification for protesting outside a Planned Parenthood center is his own personal belief that “abortion is simply the wrong answer.” While I am quite proudly pro-choice, I do not intend to use this publication as a forum to espouse my own political views. My disapproval of Gray’s argument is not exclusively due to our philosophical differences, but rather relies heavily on his suggestion that advocates of choice do not appreciate the sanctity of human life. Such a flippant remark is an injustice to the thousands of pro-choice supporters on this campus who value human life just as much as the author does. In fact, by supporting a woman’s basic freedom of choosing what happens to her body, pro-choice advocates subscribe to the very same ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as he does.
In response to Gray’s comment that Planned Parenthood is an “abortion center,” I would like to point out that abortion services accounted for roughly 3 percent of its overall services in 2009 (the most recent year for which I could find hard data.) The other 97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s medical services included contraception (such as tubal sterilization and vasectomies), STD treatment and testing, cancer screening and pregnancy tests. Therefore, to refer to the entire Planned Parenthood Federation as an “abortion center” is grossly inaccurate. Planned Parenthood recognizes that abortion is an option of last resort and always informs those considering an abortion of other options mentioned by the author, such as adoption.
I am glad that Gray feels passionate about the pro-life movement, and I agree that if you support his beliefs then you should not be shy in expressing them. However, perhaps the unimpressive size of the pro-life community on Penn’s campus is a referendum of an enlightened and free-thinking student body and not the result of some mysterious unwillingness of students to “act on their inner feelings.”
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