Pro-life movement should shift toward support for mothers and families, away from agitation

Quinn Burke, Associate Views Editor

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The pro-life movement itself rests on an uneasy contradiction. The same people who cry for the rights and safety of the unborn seem to forget about their existence after birth. Pro-life supporters mostly lean to the right with 65 percent of Republicans believing abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Their champions argue about the sanctity of life and support for mothers, but when it comes down to supporting needy families, many consistently vote to slash funding.

This contradiction is not just something that happens when we elect crooked politicians. In the actions of pro-life groups across the country, we see this disconnect in broad daylight. Consider the recent actions of Tulane’s very own pro-life group. Putting ribbons on the Academic Quadrangle was the ultimate performance, a way to signal to everyone the supposed tragedy of abortion and all the lives lost. Though it was a polarizing performance, it was nothing more.

Putting ribbons on the quad did nothing. Childhood poverty continues to be a pervasive issue in New Orleans, and women are still likely to be in the lowest bracket of income in NOLA. These are real issues that affect thousands every day, yet pro-life students organizing at one of the richest universities in the country just put up ribbons. These are the students that supposedly want to help children and their mothers, yet their biggest event of the year is a performance with no tangible results.

The time, effort and money that went into that display could have been used to help needy families, offer support for single mothers or provide necessary prenatal care to parents in one of the cities where it is needed most. Not only did this organization not provide the help for mothers they champion, they ignored New Orleans. Keeping this display at Tulane shows where their values lie: not in helping people who genuinely need it, but in setting up a performance to anger people on a rich campus.

Even the method by which they protest is insensitive. Choosing to have an abortion can be extremely difficult and traumatic, especially in states with pro-life laws. Parading around what the protesters essentially consider dead children can be very triggering for anyone who has had to make such a tough decision. Aside from using a poor method to get their message out and attain real results, they alienate mothers with their garish display.

The pro-life movement needs to check back into reality. Having children is an expensive and difficult process. Not everyone can afford to have children or even keep up with the medical expenses required to carry a fetus to full term. Birth defects, cognitive disabilities and a myriad of other conditions can also make pregnancy and child-rearing much more difficult, expensive and sometimes dangerous to both the mother and fetus. In refusing to acknowledge that reality when it comes to abortion, the pro-life movement fails itself.

Mothers need to be supported, and they deserve help. Planting ribbons in the quad does nothing to acknowledge the hardships of pregnancies and the stark reality of raising children today. Support organizations like Planned Parenthood and local women’s health centers so mothers get the care they actually need, not insulting displays to an insular community.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Quinn is a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]