Tulane Students for Life’s abortion demonstration sparks conversation

Armando Marin, Online News Editor

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Tulane Students for Life displayed 3,500 pink and blue flags Wednesday on the Lavin-Bernick Center Quad to represent the number of abortions the club says occur every day in the United States. The display, which is an annual event, fueled protests from other organizations on campus including Students United for Reproductive Justice and The Vagina Monologues.

TSFL President Meagan Magaldi said the display was meant to encourage positive conversations about abortion and educate people about abortion alternatives.

“Our primary purpose out here is to raise awareness about the abortion issue,” Magaldi said. “Equally, but maybe more importantly, [our purpose] is to also raise awareness about resources available to women in our community.”

Abortion rights advocates stood on McAlister Drive holding signs supporting abortion rights. The protest was held in conjunction with a Tulane College Democrats fundraiser for the New Orleans Abortion Fund, which provides assistance to women seeking an abortion.

Additional organizations taking part in the protest included Amnesty International, Feminist Alliance of Students at Tulane and other members of the recently formed Progressive Voter Coalition.

Sophomore Layla Entrikin protested to facilitate equal representation of viewpoints.

“We just wanted to have a show of support for the other side just to make sure people know that there is [a pro-abortion rights] presence on campus,” Entrikin said.

Entrikin said the flags on the quad shamed women who have had abortions and may have acted as a trigger.

“I really think the difficult thing is [TSFL] has no idea who’s walking by,” Entrikin said. “They have no idea who’s had an abortion, who’s been affected by abortion. This can be incredibly offensive to someone who that’s happened to. I don’t think this is necessarily the best way to start a conversation.”

TSFL External Vice President Abrania Marrero said concerns about women’s well-being are part of the dialogue.

“Whenever we [have] dialogue about this subject, which we understand is very controversial here in the United States and all over the world, we are very aware that we don’t know the kind of person that we’re talking to,” Marrero said. “Whenever we’re dialoguing, we have that in mind.”

Abortion rights advocates held an impromptu protest last year while standing on the LBC steps. Last year’s protests brought up concerns of the students being too confrontational to TSFL members after several members left the protest crying. Freshman Josh Rosenbaum, who participated in the abortion rights protest this year, said these concerns were considered during planning.

“What I wanted was to channel that anger into something good,” Rosenbaum said. “I don’t think being confrontational is the best way for us to make a difference or to enact positive change.”