Right to Life? Quite a controversial stance to take these days. But this week’s elections indicate that some members of the community, including some of the GUSA Executive candidates, are misinformed about the mission and activities of Georgetown University Right to Life. One candidate insisted that “GU Right to Life is a misleading misnomer,” and then called the organization “GU Anti-Choice.” While, of course, every candidate is entitled to his or her own beliefs, we feel that many opinions people hold about Right to Life are simply erroneous, and ought to be rectified. So let us clarify the mission and activities of Right to Life, and address the false claims above.

Let’s start with the GU Right to Life Mission Statement:

Georgetown University Right to Life is a student organization dedicated to protecting human life from beginning to end. We strongly believe in equal rights for men and women, no matter who they are, no matter where they live, even if they live in the womb. We believe that through persistent effort we can and will create a society in which abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty have no place. We respect and value life in and of itself, and we work to promote the dignity of each individual. We offer realistic choices which protect the life of every woman, man, and child, from conception until natural death.

So what is all this “anti-choice” business all about? The term “anti-choice” is a propagandized rhetorical term spread by pro-choice campaigns; it is a simplistic effort to reduce the abortion issue from a complex intellectual and moral debate to name-calling. Indeed, from our perspective, one could use the crude descriptive “anti-life” rather than “pro-choice,” but we are not seeking to reduce anyone’s argument to such a one-dimensional representation, even if we disagree. We are not against “choice” as an abstract concept, but rather we believe that society must place limits on human choices when they violate the rights of others, especially when they threaten the most fundamental right of every individual to life. Our mission to protect these rights and defend life extends to every person, from his or her conception until natural death.

The efforts of Right to Life are not based on political rhetoric, but instead upon an affirmation of the dignity of human life. With slightly fewer than 4,000 abortions per day in the United States alone – that works out to be at least 40 million babies aborted since Roe v. Wade – we work towards the ultimate goal of ending abortion by trying to reduce abortions one at a time. This is done by educating the community about the tragic consequences of abortion for both child and mother, by providing life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women facing unexpected pregnancies and by supporting expecting and parenting women and men. We look to serve women and make every effort to ensure access to resources that allow her to choose life, despite outside pressures that may make her feel that abortion is the sole option.

You might agree that we have a noble set of goals above. But you might also suspect that we are too idealistic in our mission and ask, “How can Right to Life expect to realize these goals?” Well, we do it primarily through awareness campaigns and, most significantly, through service. Below are a few samples of the service work we perform in our efforts to serve struggling parents, promote respect for all life, and affirm the dignity of every individual. Check out our website, http://chooselife.georgetown.edu for more examples of continuing projects:

· At least once a month, dedicated students rise early on a Saturday morning to collect diapers, formula and other necessities to help economically disadvantaged women care for their children.

· We volunteer as pregnancy counselors at the Northwest Center to help women cope emotionally and physically with crisis pregnancies.

· We tutor GED candidates and hold employment workshops to aid women and men, so that they can support themselves and their families.

· We hold an annual Pregnancy Forum, which provides information and resources to help ensure that a woman is not forced to choose between her education and her child.

· We offer free babysitting for Hoya Parents to assist them in their efforts to continue their Georgetown educations during and after an unexpected pregnancy.

· We have joined in service trips to the Kennedy Institute to help developmentally disabled adults.

Is this work “anti-choice?” Well, it is most certainly “pro-life.” In fact, our service projects are open to all Georgetown students, pro-life and pro-choice, who agree that something needs to be done to help parents in need. So rather than using derisive rhetoric to drum up support while dividing our student body, we seek to unite students in an effort to serve those members of our community who need it most. How “anti-choice” is that?

So join us in our next diaper drive or come and help us baby-sit for Hoya Parents. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, we challenge you to assist us in serving and supporting women in their decision to choose life.

Laura Peirson is a sophomore in the College and the President of GU Right to Life.

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