Letter to the Editor: Come on, abortion is a deeply personal issue, let’s keep it that way

Alyssa Stankevtiz, Member of the Class of 2022

Despite the liberal arts tradition that informs much of the Saint Anselm experience, a stark lack of exposure to different ideas regarding reproductive healthcare mars the educational and experiential elements of Saint Anselm College. The Benedictine tradition of pro-life ideology creates a cultural monopoly on our school that prevents students from discussion and learning the realities of a legal process in our country. Abortion is healthcare. Regardless of whether or not certain ideologies find reproductive healthcare valid or moral, they are legal elements of U.S. healthcare.

Abortion is not a moral issue, it is an issue of reproductive healthcare impacting the ability of people with uteri to live safe and autonomous lives. No individual wants to have an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, but illness, sexual assault, incest, and individual situations that are none of our business lead individuals to make the extremely difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. Therefore, it is asinine for any group to claim moral authority and declare abortion an objectively incorrect practice. Being blanketly ‘pro-life’ serves to perpetuate a broken system in which women are seen merely as vessels for children that are not properly cared for once birthed. No individual should be forced by a religious or governmental sect to carry a child to term. This loss of personal and bodily autonomy should be concerning to any American who cares about the ideals of liberty and justice, as it creates a clear distinction between which lives are valued (the ‘unborn’ fetus) and which are not (the people being forced to carry a pregnancy). Reproductive healthcare including access to health screenings, STD testing, birth control, and even abortion should be a private personal decision based in science and personal choice. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v Wade that this was constitutionally sound when they decided that individuals have a right to privacy when making medical decisions. For this reason, no college group, individual, or ideological leaning should have the authority to invade an individual’s private medical decisions under the guise of moral authority. 

Students of Color and LGBTQ+ students face discrimination and tokenization frequently, making it ridiculous for anyone not actively working to rectify this injustice to identify themselves as “pro-life.” Science has disproved the idea that sustainable life begins at conception. Life does exist however, in the students who are victimized and belittled on this campus. Refusing to act on sexual assault, racism, and discrimination on our campus is not pro-life. It’s pro-controlling the bodies and autonomy of individuals it views as somehow morally inferior and therefore necessitating a paternalistic overreach of ideological control. 

Make no mistake, pro-choice is not inherently pro-abortion. Pro-choice is pro-allowing individuals the ability to make an autonomous medical decision without any interference from a religious or governmental body. Pro-life however, has no such claim to personal liberty for a living individual. Traditional pro-life rhetoric ignores the necessity for medical interference in people’s lives by their own personal choice. Pro-life teachings ignore science, logic, and the Constitution in favor of controlling people choosing to make an autonomous medical decision. You don’t have to be wholly supportive of abortion to be pro-choice. Being pro-choice is to believe that the legal right and medical necessity of certain individuals to a procedure outweighs the credibility of a select few claiming moral superiority over scientific fact and individual bodily autonomy.