Some students unhappy with one voice
Despite differences in student beliefs, there remains no endorsed abortion rights club on campus
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 18:12
As student organizations discussed women’s reproductive rights at a panel last month, one organization was left out—an abortion rights club.
Last year, though, two seniors proposed an abortion rights club, Voices for Choices, but Student Government Association denied the charter.
“We thought that since Loyola is an institution of higher learning that they would be open minded to having both sides of the coin represented. Apparently we were wrong,” said Ashley Nesbitt, A’11, who, along with Tori Buckley, A’11, spearheaded the idea of an abortion rights group.
According to Michael Morin, SGA president and music education senior, the charter was denied because it is incompatible with the mission, goals and values of the university.
“As a Jesuit Catholic university, we adopt the teachings and beliefs of the church, and on the topic of life, we (the university) are pro-life,” he said. “After the organization was denied in the SGA court, they appealed directly to the Office of Student Affairs, which supported the decision of the court to deny them recognition as an official organization.”
All student organizations must adhere to the university’s mission for their charter to be approved by SGA and the Office of Student Affairs, according to the SGA handbook.
Nesbitt and Buckley were not alone when proposing a charter of Voices for Choices. A petition of 259 signatures supported Voices for Choices and an abortion rights voice on campus.
The club was intended to be a place for students to get information and support about pregnancy, birth control, adoption and sexual health, not just about if abortion is right or wrong, Nesbitt said. Nesbitt and Buckley said they felt having only an anti-abortion club did not do the members of Loyola justice.
Some of the 259 signatures included Loyola Life members, according to Nesbitt, and Kylee McIntyre, English sophomore and vice president of Loyola Life. According to Office of Co-Curricular Programs website, Loyola Life promotes life in all stages from conception to natural death, which includes poverty, the death penalty and euthanasia.
But not all of Loyola Life was on board with Voices for Choices. According to McIntyre most Loyola Life members are opposed to an abortion rights club on campus. McIntyre said that even though they are opposed to an abortion rights club, Loyola Life is open and willing to discuss the issue.
Loyola Life members participated in a panel discussion about women’s reproductive rights late last month held by the Loyola University Sociology Student Organization.
Alyssa Patterson, sociology senior and president of the sociology organization, said the panel gave the possibility of dialogue of both sides when only an anti-abortion voice is endorsed on campus.
Patterson said the panel opened discussion about anti-abortion and abortion rights. There was a good turnout of students and faculty who represented both sides of the issue, including some Loyola Life members. Although it was just a conversation, it was an important step for women’s rights and resources on a Jesuit campus, Patterson said.
Yet discussion about abortion rights may not be enough. Some students said they want Loyola to provide resources, support and awareness for women who must make difficult life decisions
Student Advocates for Gender Equality members said they would support an abortion rights club on campus.
Maddie Crabtree, jazz studies sophomore and member of the gender equality group, said she believes the university views abortion rights as promoting abortion. This misses the big picture about abortion rights, according to Crabtree.
“Pro choice is not pro abortion, it is a choice,” Crabtree said.
Nesbitt said the club was meant to provide support, compassion and awareness about difficult life decisions like abortion.
Jamie Futral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org