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.