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Abortion argument lingers on campus

By Karl Gommel Staff Writer
On April 12, 2012

The debate on abortion on Loyola's campus stretches back well over the past few decades.

 On Nov. 7, 1985, Loyola hosted a debate on abortion rights. The two debaters were Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum and anti-abortion voice, and Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won Roe v. Wade. A Maroon report on the debate estimated that around 350 people attended.

The day after the debate, The Maroon published an article in which three women recounted their experiences with having abortions. A woman identified as Angela spoke of her experience with an error during her abortion. Angela expressed regret regarding her decision.

"I didn't want the responsibilities. Hell, all I thought about then was partying. I thought it was the right decision then. Now I think abortion is wrong," Angela said.

Another woman, identified only as Monica in the article, recounted her own experience with having an abortion. Once Monica recovered from the operation, her boyfriend lost all interest in her. Despite this heartbreak, Monica did not back away from her views on abortion.

"I don't say that I had an abortion to get rid of a baby. I tell myself I used birth control. That way I look at it as an alternative - an alternative I'm glad I had and an alternative I'll use again if I have to...but I hope I don't have to," she said.

On Loyola's campus today, the abortion debate has included Loyola's institutional policy. Last year SGA turned down a proposed abortion rights club on the basis the club would have clashed with Loyola's Jesuit values.

However, Loyola does have a life-rights club called Loyola Life. Katie Sloan, mass communication sophomore and organization president, said that Loyola Life's mission is to "uphold the life and dignity of all people from conception to natural death." While Sloan says Loyola Life supports life at all stages, the club has focused on the lives of the unborn recently. Sloan said the club's programs promote life without directly fighting abortion, and has a partnership with the Woman's Resource Center.

"Pregnant students have the best resources that enable them to be a student and a mother at the same time," Sloan said.

While there is no club explicitly supporting abortion, there are clubs that discuss women's rights. Students Advocating Gender Equality has a stated goal of "breaking down gender stereotypes and social expectations." Recent meeting topics for SAGE include birth control and contraceptives.

Morgan Whittler, philosophy sophomore and SAGE president, feels that the recent issues on campus regarding abortion have led to constructive discussion on the topic.

"I think the pro-life pro-choice debate on campus has brought forth two valid conclusions, that women deserve better than abortion and that there should be better education and access to information," Whittler said in an email.

Karl Gommel can be reached at


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