Scott Tibbs
Published in the Indiana Daily Student, April 13, 1998

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Can the culture of death be fixed?

April 4, I was one of about 20 students who picketed outside the IU Health Center to educate students about the issues surrounding the "birth control" provided there. Our main concern was many of these "birth control" devices are not contraception at all, but are forms of chemical abortion. These include the pill, Norplant, Depo-Provera and the morning-after pill. While these drugs do sometimes prevent conception, they also often have the effect of killing the new person once the egg and sperm meet in fertilization. They do this by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus or by killing it in other ways. This new person has a completely new DNA code different from every person who ever lived and has everything needed to grow and thrive. The only thing added after that point is nutrition. But with the abortifacient drugs provided at the Health Center, this new life is snuffed out before it has a chance to grow.

In addition to this, many pro-life students are upset we are forced to subsidize a facility that provides these drugs. Every semester, IU students have to pay a $70.50 health fee to a facility that provides drugs many students are opposed to. Health Center director Hugh Jessop said in the Bloomington Herald-Times students are not subsidizing the providing of these drugs (students are charged for them), but the health fee underwrites the business operation of the Health Center. But Jessop missed the point. Pro-life students are upset at being forced to subsidize this facility at all because of the provision of abortifacient drugs there. Whether we directly subsidize the provision of birth control, we should have the choice of whether to subsidize the facility.

We got quite a reaction; some drove by with honks and a thumbs up. Others screamed "Go home!" or "F*** you." I was admittedly amused by some of the intense emotional response of the passers-by who opposed our viewpoint. Realistically, how is a picket by 20 students such a threat to women's rights? How is it when we exercise out First Amendment right to peaceably assemble, it is such a threat to people?

I began seriously thinking about the picket during the next few days. Perhaps the pro-choice side does think it would be best if we pro-lifers would just "Go home!" as one of the passers-by suggested. But we have been sitting on the sidelines for too long while innocent children have been slaughtered in the womb, both surgically and chemically. We have been sitting on the sidelines for too long while abortion and euthanasia have drained the respect for life in this country to an unthinkable degree.

The March 24 Jonesburo, Ark., massacre was an example of the disappearing respect for life in this country. While I am sure many on the pro-choice side will disagree strongly with me, I do not believe we as a society can have a 1 1/2 million abortions a year and not reduce the respect for life in the culture at large. But before pro-abortion rights readers of this column go into an emotional reaction about the right to "choose," I issue a challenge. Think about this for a minute. An insert by the Human Life Alliance of Minnesota in last week's Indiana Daily Student noted abortion is legal through the ninth month of pregnancy because of the ambiguous "health of the mother" exception set by the Supreme Court in Doe vs. Bolton. Because "health" is such a murky concept, this exception allows for abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy for almost any reason. It is this "health" exception that gives radical pro-abortion extremists such as President Clinton an excuse to oppose a ban on even the most obscene procedures such as partial-birth abortion.

When even the most obscene abortion procedures are protected by law, is it really any surprise our children our killing each other in the streets? If adults do not respect life in the womb, how can we expect children to respect life in the schoolyard?

The denial of the right to life of unborn children is at the root of our culture's lack of respect for life in general. While the debate about abortion is very much a human rights issue, it is also a debate about what kind of society we want to live in. Do you really think our cultural decay is acceptable? And if not, why aren't you trying to fix it?