Serrin Foster, president of Feminists For Life of America, discussed her organization’s central issues Monday in Hubbell Auditorium. Foster discussed pregnancy on campus, women’s right to choose and the effects of legalized abortion on society.

Foster said that when a college student becomes pregnant, one of two things commonly happen ? she either has an abortion or drops out of school. Foster argued that campus culture promotes this phenomenon. “It’s a culture that says abortion is the only real choice. Pregnancy is not socially acceptable. That’s why you don’t see many visibly pregnant students on campuses,” she said.

Foster said that colleges should do a better job of providing resources and emotional support for pregnant women who wish to remain in school.

“To make abortion rare, we have to emphasize woman-centered solutions. Most women do not want to have an abortion. Most women do not want to leave school,” she said. “What we’re saying with this program is pregnant and parenting students want and deserve other viable choices.”

At UR, health services and day-care programs are available to pregnant students and students who are already parents.

Foster also spoke about the legalization of abortion correlating with increased child abuse.

She discussed in detail the history of feminism.

“The early feminists ? people like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Wollstonecraft ? were pro-life,” she said.

Pro-choice was not a popular view in the time of early feminism, Foster said. “Feminists, doctors, and media all opposed abortion at that time,” she said. “The goals of the [National Organization for Women] movement would have sickened early feminists. Without exception, the early American feminist rejected abortion in the strongest possible terms.”

Junior and Women’s Caucus president Alison Schroth had different opinions on some of the issues brought up by Foster. “I agree with FFL on some of their objectives ? better childcare, less domestic violence and more counseling for those who may want an abortion ? but women’s rights necessarily include the right to reproductive freedom.

“The fact that child abuse has increased in the years since the 1970s to me is just another symptom of the fact that our society as a whole has become more violent, not that there is any necessary correlation between that fact and the legalization of abortion,” Schroth said. “FFL claims that having the right to choose abortion actually oppresses women, but I believe that women not having control over their own bodies is the real form of oppression.

“FFL also uses as evidence the fact that Susan B. Anthony and her peers opposed abortion. However, they were also great supporters of the temperance movement ? we have to recognize that society 150 years ago was of a different mindset than modern society,” she continued.

Foster summed up the stance of FFL. “It isn’t enough to say ‘no’ to abortion. We have to say ‘yes’ to women, ‘yes’ to their basic rights,” she said.

“General equality doesn’t come at the expense of anyone else, and that includes our children,” she said.

Chandra can be reached at pchandra@campustimes.org.



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