I struggled with how to write this post. Snappy, sassy, tart phrases popped into my head. But I cut them off because they would hurt a friend’s feelings. The friend who designed and posted these all over our campus:
She protests outside of the East Liberty Clinic. I escort women into the downtown Planned Parenthood. I called the numbers on the third poster, to confirm my suspicions that neither Roselia, nor Birthright, nor the mendaciously-named Women’s Choice Network have licensed doctors on staff. Roselia does not even provide pre-natal vitamins or check-ups.
It hurt to see these, and burnt inside to tell her I would take them down. Because they were not properly labeled*. CMU’s flyering policy is that all flyers must have the name of their sponsoring student organization. This is to protect student organization’s posters–if students are caught tearing down other organization’s posters, they are vandals. If random groups in Pittsburgh used our limited posting space for their sales and complaints and protests students’ voices would be drowned out.
At CMU students must take credit and responsibility for their beliefs.
After three days and no labels, I took everyone I could find down. They were her work, and I respect her, so I couldn’t tear them off the walls and pillars and poster-boards. I carefully unpinned each one, and set them in my messenger bag. My collection by the end of the day:
I told my friend I looked forward to seeing her campaign once it was properly labeled. This was a lie. I would be more comfortable at school if I wasn’t anxious as I walked into school every day, tensing myself against what I might see plastered over my walls.
But I don’t go to college to be comfortable. And I don’t choose my friends by their stances on abortion.
So I lied, to keep the peace. And I took down her posters, to be honest with myself.
*firstname.lastname@example.org does not count because it does not specify the sponsoring CMU student organization.
“Pro-choice and pro-life activists live in different worlds, and the scope of their lives, as both adults and children, fortifies them in their belief that their own views on abortion are the more correct, the more moral, and more reasonable. When added to this is the fact that should ‘the other side’ win, one group of women will see the very real devaluation of their lives and life resources, it is not surprising that the abortion debate has generated so much heat and so little light.”–Kristin Luker