As the organizational president of Respect for Life, I wanted to clarify a couple points in last week’s article.
- The caption of the accompanying photo was incorrect. It said the 100 crosses represent the number of children aborted around the world every 41 minutes. This number actually represents only the abortions occurring in the U.S. There is a huge difference: in the U.S., there are approximately 1,500 abortions a day; worldwide, there are over 112,000. This means that worldwide, it takes just over two minutes for 100 abortions to occur.
- We are not affiliated in any way with the “national” Respect for Life group referenced. It also appears as though they are simply a local group in Oregon, not a national organization.
- Drake Respect for Life has no religious or political affiliation. It’s somewhat misleading to quote a Catholic website.
Finally, from a journalistic and ethical perspective, it seems like it would have made sense to contact the organization actually sponsoring the event. Our e-mail address and a contact phone number were on the signs mentioned in the article. Perhaps this way, these mistakes could have been avoided and you would not have had to rely on the first website that appears when you Google the phrase “respect for life.”
Further, by speaking to a member of the group, you might also have been able to address the purpose of the display. Our goal was to represent in some concrete way the more abstract numbers associated with abortion. We also wanted to challenge a common misconception that abortion is rare. We included statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, with the display and updated them daily. Unfortunately, because of intolerance and close-mindedness, these signs were also ripped down on a daily basis.
We were also disappointed when instead of entering into a dialogue concerning the issue, vandals responded with hateful violence and tore down the cemetery—not even once, but twice—throwing crosses under trees and into bushes. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, I invite all students, faculty and staff to seek out the truth of abortion statistics themselves; be educated about your beliefs—no matter which side of the fence you fall on.
Roth can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org