Saying “Planned Parenthood is in the business of abortion” can be equated to saying “Gonzaga is in the business of basketball.” Sure, is our school known for its record-breaking basketball teams, yes. Is there a strong association between the name “Gonzaga” and “basketball” or “March Madness,” most definitely.
But ask anyone on campus what GU means to them and I guarantee “basketball” will not be their first, second or even third answer. We have a longstanding successful basketball team and that’s fantastic, but the vast majority of us did not choose to attend GU because of a stellar sports teams.
Anyone who actually does their research and looks into what Planned Parenthood does for their community would know that providing safe access to abortions is not where their focus lies. In fact, it is low on their list of annual services provided for those who seek safe sexual health and wellness from the organization.
According to their website, the main focus of the organization can be broken down into three areas: sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, birth control information and education and breast and pap screenings for cancer.
The organization has over 2.4 million patients and has provided over 9.8 million services, according to its website. Of these 9.8 million services, nearly 5 million were STI screenings, testing and treatment, another 2.5 million were birth control prescriptions, and finally more than 500,000 were breast exams and pap smears, as noted on their website.
I don’t pretend to be ignorant of the fact that we attend a Catholic university, nor the church’s views on abortion. However, to condemn an entire organization because one specific service they offer conflicts with the teachings of a religion that a university follows, where less than half of those university students actually subscribe to that religion is the real ignorance to me.
Furthermore, to condemn the decision that a woman makes with her body, one that you as a man will never have to make for yourself does not feel to me as though it is something that “fosters a mature commitment to dignity of the human person,” as stated in the university’s mission statement.
I find it incredibly unethical and frankly unjust to imply that simply because we attend a Catholic university, we must all adhere to those sets of values, and have no autonomy to make decisions for ourselves and our lives outside of what the church says.
GU prides itself on creating an environment that fosters development of the entire self and care for the entire being. How are students supposed to develop their entire selves if they feel pressured to only make decisions that exclusively fall in line with those of their university? How are we a school that fosters critical thinking if its students do not even actively use this skill when placing themselves in other’s shoes?
In a country where women still are undermined by their doctors and society when choosing to take their sexual health into their own hands, and do not have adequate access to safe sexual health services and education, Planned Parenthood is one of the few remaining organizations to help women in this regard.
When women feel ostracized by their community, when they feel they cannot turn to those who are supposed to be there to help guide them and encourage them to make decisions that are best for them and their bodies, how are you then going to condemn them for seeking out alternative solutions?
How can you say that your decision to deny women the right and safety to choose to put their health above your religious beliefs is a moral one?
According to Creighton University’s code of Jesuit values, it is in direct conflict with the Jesuit faith to force one’s Jesuit ideals or values onto another. More so, it is also wrong to ostracize those who do not choose to follow Jesuit ideals.
How then will you sit there and condemn an entire organization, or a club on campus which has tried to be affiliated with Planned Parenthood, simply because you do not think it is in line with GU’s Jesuit ideals.
The real person who is out of line with these ideals is any person who forces this way of thinking and acting onto another, and therefore condemns that individual for not making decisions for their body the way that you would for yours.
If the religion that you choose to follow does not agree with abortions, then simply put, do not choose to have one. You have the freedom to not let anyone force their religion onto you, so in turn it is only fair to give us the freedom to not force your religious beliefs onto us and our bodies.