Students create pro-life group hoping to expand available info

A group of Eastern Michigan University students in the process of creating a pro-life student organization said although abortion is a controversial issue, it is not talked about enough in the college community.

The vice president of the group, EMU junior Christine Robin, said its main goal is to bring awareness to not only college students but individuals in the greater area as well.

“Our main goal is to educate life issues that are presenting themselves to people our age,” Robin said. “Statistics show that people our age are getting abortions. There are other options out there.”

The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization, compiles a list of facts and statistics regarding sexual activity, contraception, abortion and childbearing. For more than three decades, the institute has collected and analyzed data.

To ensure it provides balanced and objective information, the institute is comprised of a diverse, 42-member board of directors. Each director is knowledgeable in a variety of fields including law, medicine, research, public education, finance and program administration.

The institute is funded by U.S. government grants and international governments and does not accept donations from groups or companies trying to influence their findings.

According to facts and statistics released by the institute in January, nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, end in abortion,
according to the institute.

Women in their twenties account for more than half of all abortions. Thirty-three percent of abortions occur in women aged 20-24 and women aged 25-29 obtain 24 percent.

In 2008 in the state of Michigan, 36,790 women obtained abortions, producing a rate of 18.4 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Robin said she believes women seek abortions, because they aren’t properly educated on the issue.

“I think it’s a very serious issue,” she said. “It’s very controversial. I think people are scared to talk about it. I think a lot of women looking for abortions feel there aren’t other options. There are so many resources out there.”

James White, an EMU senior, disagrees with the notion people aren’t educated on the issue.

“I actually had to do something on this for one of my classes here,” White said. “We had to go around and interview women and get their thoughts on the matter. I interviewed one student who said she had an abortion. She said her and her boyfriend did extensive research on it to make sure she was making the right decision. She told me the state of Michigan requires a woman to do several things before she can obtain a legal abortion.”

According to the Department of Community Health, a law created in 1993 makes a woman go through a number of steps before she can actually receive an abortion. Michigan’s Informed Consent for Abortion Law requires certain information be made available to women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours prior to the abortion procedure. The department said the information was designed to provide women with accurate and unbiased information on the procedure.

The law was amended in 2000 to make sure the information is only available through the department of community health’s website, so information isn’t altered or misconstrued.

Women must view the written summary of the abortion, fetal development information closely matching the fetus’ probable gestational age and information on prenatal care and parenting according to the department.

Once a woman has completely reviewed the required documents, she must print and sign the confirmation form and present it to the physician doing the procedure to legally verify they have reviewed the state-approved information.

Robin said contrary to popular belief, men are affected just as much as women by abortion.

“We actually do have quite a few guys in our group that are quite active,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of male response. Guys are coming out saying their girlfriends are getting abortions. It’s definitely an issue for them.”

Robin said her organization believes abortion is wrong, because it takes away the life of an innocent baby.

“Life starts at conception,” she said. “Twenty-two days after conception, the heart starts beating. It’s a life that should be valued.”

Senior Sydney Pugh said it’s ultimately up to the woman to decide, and everyone else should mind their own business.

“Who are we to judge?” she asked. “You just don’t know what’s going on in a woman’s life. It’s our body and our decision. No one else’s.”
Robin said her group wasn’t created to frown upon women who might have had an abortion.

“We’re not here to judge them,” Robin said. “We’re here to help them, if anything. A lot of women don’t get proper counseling before or after. We’re here to help give them that.”

Sophomore Mariel Hernandez said even though she hopes the organization gets approved by the university, she wants a pro-choice group to be created.

“I think college students need to see both sides of the argument,” Hernandez said. “So if a girl was in that predicament, at least she would be able to look at things from a wider scope.”

The group had an event this past October, and Robin said they received a lot of good feedback and a lot of negative as well, but she said the beauty of living in America is everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

“People have been for it and against it,” she said. “Both opinions need to be represented. Just respect us and what we stand for. Be open-minded to the fact that we believe it is a life, and we’re here to promote that.”

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