Pro-life advocates spark debate

The Lion’s Roar / Tamara Alexander

Southeastern Students for Life, a pro-life advocate group, sets up a forum for discussion on abortion in the Student Union on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Members make an effort to share their perspective as well as hear the viewpoints on this controversial topic. 

Every Tuesday, Southeastern Students for Life sets up a table outside the Union to discuss the personal thoughts and beliefs revolving around the decision to be pro-life or pro-choice. 

The Roe vs. Wade case in which abortion became legal in the United States has been separating people’s beliefs on the definition of life for 41 years. Even before the case, the issue of life and when it begins has been an ongoing debate.  

Part of the Students for Life’s mission statement is to, “preserve the inalienable right to life inherent to all human beings. We strive to raise awareness and educate the community on all matters that threaten and pertain to this fundamental right.” 

The other members strive to take the chance to educate their fellow peers through the weekly tabling.  

“ [Other students] are mostly wondering why we believe what we believe or why we are asking this question in the first place,” said Victoria Mercer, sophomore business administration major and member of Students for Life. 

One of the top questions brought up at the first tabling is the idea of when life begins. 

“A big issue that comes down when it comes to choice: ‘Is the baby alive?’” said Stuart Lafleur, senior management major. “It has all the qualifications of being a living being. One of the big things we talk about is what separates killing in the womb from killing outside the womb.”

Students for Life believe life begins in the womb. This means members consider any abortion the same killing as a baby outside the womb. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “in 2010, 765,651 legal induced abortions were reported from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2010 was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years and the abortion ratio was 228 abortions per 1,000 live births,” which is down by three percent from the previous years.  

At any age, with a parent’s consent as a minor, a woman is allowed to have an abortion. The CDC reports the majority of abortions in 2010 were of women in their 20’s. Sometimes, people who are passionate about pro-life are people who knew their parents could have aborted them. 

“My biggest influence [to join pro-life] was when I found out I was adopted. My mom was 17, and my dad was 18. She had the option to abort me. That led me to join Students for Life,” said Lafleur. 

According to the Planned Parenthood website, three percent of their business consists of abortion procedures, and one of the awareness issues the pro-life table talks about is how abortions do happen through Planned Parenthood. 

“I think a lot of people don’t know what Planned Parenthood is, and a lot of people misinterpret what it is,” said Lafleur. “A lot of what we do is bring awareness of what they are and what they actually do.”

When it comes to discussing the issue of life, the members of the pro-life organization feel a sense of peaceful discussion on both sides of the table. 

“A lot of people are open-minded to other people’s points of view, and I wasn’t completely expecting that,” said Mercer. “Most people want to hear why you disagree with them or why you have a different point of view.”

One of the concerns pro-choice advocates presented when discussing the issue was allowing abortions to take place when rape or incest is involved. When this is brought up, members of the pro-life organization immediately stop the discussion and give pamphlets on retreats and other healing centers, and tell the person they are talking to seek help, guidance or to go to the University Counseling Center. 

To speak with pro-life advocates, students can stop by the Southeastern Students for Life table found outside the student Union on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.