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Respect for Life month clarifications

As the organizational president of Respect for Life, I wanted to clarify a couple points in last week’s article.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Thank you,

Alex Roth

Roth can be contacted atalexandra.roth@drake.edu


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  1. D October 10, 2010

    I find it funny that your third point is that there is no religious or political affiliation. If it has no affiliation, then what is its purpose? To purely educate people on the numbers of abortions? I highly doubt that was the only motive.

    Personally, I found this display to be completely unnecessary. Especially, for a campus that is so careful about having ZERO religious affiliation.

  2. Joe Rensam October 12, 2010

    I don’t know who took your display, but why were your members wiping-off counter arguments on the sidewalks?

  3. Alex October 12, 2010

    D, religion and abortion are separate issues. Obviously, a lot of religion gets brought into the discussion, and many of our members are Christian, but RFL itself has no religious affiliation (as in, we are not associated with one denomination more than another).

    Joe, no one wiped off counter arguments. Honestly, the thought was entertained because our signs had been ripped down all week, but we didn’t want to fight fire with fire. Instead, we chalked our own responses to those counter arguments. As we were chalking, a student walked past and dumped his drink on top of our chalk–perhaps this is the wiping out you were talking about. However, sprinklers also came on that night that washed away both sides’ chalking; that is why little was left Friday morning.

  4. D October 13, 2010

    Alex-I wasn’t trying to use religious affiliation in terms of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Maybe correlation would have been a better word to use since I meant that there were probably religious motives tied to Respect for Life (nationwide and on campus).

    You still didn’t answer what the purpose of the display was if there was no religious or political significance.

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