Anti-abortion groups on campus are misleading and inconsiderate


Kenna Barnes

Using a combination of empathy and rhetoric, young anti-abortion groups are especially dangerous to the safety of the one in four people on campus who have or will decide to have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

These groups implement ‘morally’ charged arguments to which no counter arguments can be made because morality, at the end of the day, is based on opinion and cannot be proven. As a result, the Milo Bail student center has become an extremely uncomfortable space for students supporting reproductive rights.

The anti-abortion movement is riddled with unproven, inflammatory and shame-based statements that are passed off as science. They use fear tactics, coercion and disturbing imagery as “evidence” for their stance. I am here to present science-based information on the topic of abortion.

One popular myth touted by anti-choice groups is that abortion is a danger to the health of those who experience it. However, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, medical and surgical abortion are two of the safest medical procedures.

In fact—according to a study report published by the National Academies Press—carrying a pregnancy to term holds greater risks with higher rates of morbidity and mortality than even a late-term abortion.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, less than one percent of patients will experience a complication beyond abdominal pain, vomiting, or a treatable infection. Therefore, the idea of eliminating abortions because they are unsafe is not only patently false, it is illogical.

The more serious complications are due to limiting access, creating waiting times, or not having a trained professional perform the procedure. Furthermore, abortion does not cause infertility or cancer.

Many people are also unaware that approximately two-thirds of those who decide to have an abortion already have children and cannot bear the weight of one more, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The extremely high rate of unintended pregnancy unwanted pregnancies in the United States explains the high rate of abortion.

According to an article published by the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Declines in Unintended Pregnancy in the United States,” each year more than 6 million people become pregnant and almost half of these are unintended.

This fact becomes less surprising when you consider the typical U.S. woman wants two children; spends approximately five years either pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or in the immediate postpartum weeks and three decades trying to avoid pregnancy.

The Guttmacher Institute has also found that women who have abortions are in their 20’s, of lower-income (75 percent) and surprisingly (or not) 37 percent of them are Christian.

With poor sex education and limited access to contraceptives in the U.S., it’s no wonder that so many people become pregnant when they don’t want to be in those 30 years or more. Abortion is common and people who have had an abortion are everywhere.

They look like you and I, and they are here on campus. They are actively being told that the decision they made in order to go to school, stay in the workforce, or even just to stay alive was the worst mistake they could have ever made. They are being told that complete strangers should have control over women and trans men’s bodies.

Yet, combating anti-abortion groups takes more than debunking arguments and pro-abortion groups on campus do much more than advocate for abortion rights. From community wide condom distribution to hosting events like MBLGTACC (Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference), people supporting abortion rights are up against a well-funded campaign solely dedicated to disarming us.

Instead of supporting productive proposals that would reduce unintended pregnancies, they [anti-abortion groups] put all their energy into anger and shame-based campaigns. We have never taken any steps to harm or dismantle any of their spectacles here on campus.

In fact, when the #Not3000 event was happening on campus which brought awareness to the actual number of abortions that people choose to have in the United States, efforts were taken to prevent it from continuing that manifested in someone removing the flags.

It was an attempt to shut down our initiatives and remove representation and an obvious disregard for the student code of conduct. The fact that they must resort to lies and deceit at every turn leads me to believe they don’t have much of an argument at all.

If they are so concerned about the well-being of people, why aren’t any of their steps actually benefiting those they seem to care about so deeply? Why aren’t they well-versed in what they are most passionate about?

Compassion and hand-me-down “facts” shouldn’t be the basis of stripping people of their rights. What we are asking of our peers and the UNO community is that you proceed with caution, question everything, look at the research and form your own opinion.