LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Removal of pro-life banners shows lack of intellectual tolerance

During my four years at USC, I have been heavily involved in both campus and local Democratic politics, even serving at one point as the Political Director for the USC College Democrats. Every single candidate I worked for – without exception – affirmed and stood by the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body.

That being said, Sarah Green’s column in the April 29 edition of the Daily Trojan, “Pro Life banners damage university image,” was so utterly against what USC stands for that it prompted me to write this letter in defense of the USC Students for Life.

Green’s argument as to why the banners were so damaging is predicated on two thoughts: the first being that the banners promote a message that could potentially “demonize” students who choose to have an abortion. The second premise is that the material should not have been hung – as doing so constituted an official endorsement from USC.

Let me address the second point first. To argue the banners shouldn’t be hung because they promote a political message is inherently undercut by the fact there have been pro-LGBTQ flags hanging for a substantial amount of time, with not a single complaint, despite the fact that the gay rights movement is as much a political one as is the pro-life movement. Furthermore, the technical reason – according to USC Administration – the banners were removed was because they did not advertise an event. The same could, once again, be said of the LGBTQ flags.

As to the first point: all the banners had on them was a Mother Teresa quote accompanied by a picture of a baby in the womb. While Ms. Green may disagree with the message the two conveyed, I fail to see how the combination of Mother Teresa and babies amounts to “demonization” of pro-abortion advocates.

While we are on the subject of demonization, how about the demonization of Republican politics on this campus? Green’s article proves a fine case study: in it, the banners were consecutively referred to as “offensive material”, “intimidating images”, and “views entrenched in a narrow religious ideology” that “negate the idea that a woman’s mental, physical and financial health has value.” As far as I can tell, there was no space given to the pro-life advocates to air their opinion on the matter – and as a journalism student, I find that equally egregious.

This is not an argument about the merits of either the pro-life or pro-abortion causes. It is an argument for intellectual tolerance. USC – as with all universities – should be a place where all viewpoints are welcome. In the coming years, I hope the University will rededicate itself to that principle.

Whatever our political ideologies, I believe that is something we all can all agree on.

7 replies
  1. clayton17
    clayton17 says:

    Sam, thank you for balancing the journalistic integrity of the Daily Trojan and helping to educate people. While many may disapprove of the posters, or feel they were placed in an inappropriate setting, there should be no question as to whether they should be allowed on campus. All groups should have the right to voice their opinions equally and to be heard without being condemned by those who disagree, or being defamed by them for that matter. We should foster an environment of tolerance for the views of everyone, even those with whom we disagree. We should not attack others. I do not believe that the USC Pro-Life group had any intention of attempting to hurt the feelings or condemn or “demonize” any one. They simply are advocating for something they feel strongly about, and attempting to help others make the decision to not abort.

  2. Maddie
    Maddie says:

    I don’t know, I understand that freedom of speech and intellectual tolerance is important, but when they are purposely attacking a group of individuals, why should we condone that? Yes it is legal, but it’s hostile. The posters are not aggressive but they are emotionally manipulative. They are trying to guilt young women who are considering or had had abortions. It’s their right to believe what they want, no need to shove it down our throats. I wholeheartedly support USC taking them down.

    • pignut
      pignut says:

      Guilt or educate? You believe in censorship if you misread something? Maddie you are plain wrong.

      • Maddie
        Maddie says:

        Ok, here is my point: not everything is black and white. Yes, no one should shut the pro life activists up, and whatever you may argue the fact that this organization exists at USC and that they have events and we see them around campus proves that nobody is trying to censor them. In an ideal world where everything is perfect and everyone can speak their mind yes they could’ve had their banners up. This is not the case. I can see how your average student (or prospective student or parent or staff) who is not involved in any of these groups and isn’t particularly knowledgeable about this discourse is going to think that USC is affiliated with these banners. I think the banners were too much. Also, it seems to me putting this inspirational Mother Theresa quote on a banner and using “she” to address the fetus isn’t trying to ONLY teach science, but is supporting a point. This is all whatever, I’m not disputing the content of the banner, I’m just saying you can’t tell me that they’re JUST trying to educate people. I don’t know if you’re a woman or not but I think every rational person knows that if you’re pregnant keeping a baby is an option. They don’t need to be told that, they need to be convinced.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      Maddie is a typical liberal. She thinks people are too dumb (too easily manipulated) to think for themselves so that she and her fellow liberals need to spoon-feed the masses with what they deem is appropriate.
      Do I have this right, Maddie? Is this not what you just wrote? Or are you going to try to wiggle your way out of this too?

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