Public Forum on abortion held at Greg Hall yesterday

A public forum on abortion rights and the struggle for women’s liberation was held Wednesday at Gregory Hall. Elizabeth Schulte, columnist for ForSocialistWorker.org, headed the forum.

Schulte, a pro-choice advocate, said there should not be legal or financial restrictions on a woman’s right to abortion.

“Without having control over whether to have a child or not have a child, women cannot be fair or equal,” she said.

According to Schulte, pro-life activists have been chipping away at a woman’s right to get an abortion by instating regulations such as parental notification laws that penalize young women, and 24-hour waiting periods which harm poor women who cannot afford hotel stay or to take off work.

The most recent example of this, she said, is the Stupak amendment, which says that government-funded health plans cannot pay for abortion services.

“Poor women are kicked to the curb for political expediency,” Schulte said.

However, some pro-life advocates support the Stupak amendment.

“I don’t think it’s right to make people who are against abortion pay for abortion through their tax payer money,” said John-Paul Deddens, executive director of Students for Life of Illinois. Deddens said that recent polls have shown over half of Americans are pro-life.

He said that Roe vs. Wade struck down all of the abortion laws in the country that were on the books at the time and left a whole class of people unprotected by the law. Deddens believes that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned and that “everyone should be afforded the right to life.”

Brittany Carbonara, senior in LAS and president of Feminist Majority, said that abortion is about governmental restrictions and regulations on a woman’s body.

“Historically and socially, we have seen government officials–who overwhelmingly are still white, male, heterosexuals–take the abortion issue and more broadly reproductive politics into their own hands and then make these motions to legally control bodies of this nation,” she said.

Schulte said that women throughout history have had abortions whether or not it was legal, and that women who were not given safe options would abort their pregnancies with dangerous back-alley procedures or with homemade concoctions.

Deddens said he believes unborn children, like all other people, should be protected under law.

“I think direct killing of an unborn child is never morally right. I think it’s unjust,” Deddens said.

Some pro-choice advocates, however, do not think of abortion as an issue of life.

“It is not about the unborn child but about the woman’s control of her own body,” Schulte said.

The event was sponsored by International Socialist Organization and co-sponsored by Feminist Majority and the Women’s Resources Center.