Georgetown students were the focus of much television attention Wednesday night. Not long after the live taping of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” in Gaston Hall and the discussion of a potential war with Iraq came to a close, Vinita Ahuja (COL ’03) appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” as part of a panel discussing the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and debating the status of abortion rights in the United States.

Ahuja, an abortion rights advocate, Georgia native and a French and government major at Georgetown joined three other college students on the late night TV news journal.

Ahuja was heavily involved as a board member of H*yas for Choice her sophomore year, but was abroad in France last year after which, though she is still involved, she stepped down as a member of the acting board in November. Ahuja said she was flattered to be contacted by the show’s producers. Though she originally suggested “Nightline” choose someone from the organization’s board to appear on the panel, she eventually agreed to do the show based on her own experience and knowledge of the abortion rights advocacy movement.

“[My involvement in H*yas for Choice] is how they found out about me, but I wasn’t going as a representative of the organization,” Ahuja said.

She prepared for the panel discussion by reviewing information about Roe v. Wade and the abortion debate on the Web sites of both abortion rights advocates and abortion rights opponents. “It’s always good to know the other point of view . I’ve always kept good track of what the newspapers are saying about the choice debate,” she said.

Ahuja said she felt the debate was well-balanced and that, although the 20 minutes of debate that were taped were whittled down to six minutes of airtime, she said the edited version was a fair representation of the overall nature of the discussion that took place.

The discussion touched on the relevance of the symbol of a coat hanger in abortion rights movements – a representation of the dangerous methods used for abortions before the practice was legalized in 1974 – as well as the future of abortion rights in the U.S. and the opinions of the current generation about the landmark Roe v. Wade case and its continuity.

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