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You may have noticed a somewhat peculiar advertising supplement in the latest edition of the Hoya emblazoned with the title “Stop the Madness”. Though it is impossible to discern it from its rather ambiguous cover, this ad amounts to 12 pages of propaganda financed by the Human Life Alliance, published in conjunction with scores of other pro-life events taking place over the weekend, including the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown on Sunday. In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from this manipulative, sensationalist, fact-distorting document:

“Women are breaking through glass ceilings everywhere...Projections show that by 2014 women will surpass men in earning degrees at every educational level including doctoral. We have come too far to reduce women’s “rights” to mean the “right to kill our own children”.

“We might as well be ‘pro-choice’ on rape, child pornography, and prostitution.”

“As traumatic as rape is, abortion does not un-rape the mother. The baby doesn’t deserve to die for the crime of his or her father. Pat, a victim of rape, said, “In choosing to abort, to kill the innocent child growing within me, I lowered myself to the level of the rapist”

In response to the pro-choice objection, “I’m personally opposed, but I can’t tell others what to do”:

“What if US citizens had been willing to accept this justification for tolerating slavery?”

It also cites over 200 documented cases of women injured or killed by legal abortions (it does not specify over what period of time or the severity of the injuries), while failing to mention the thousands who died every year before Rowe v Wade when they were forced to seek illegal, unsafe methods.

It repeats the unsubstantiated claim that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, a favorite argument of the pro-life movement. Though not an outright lie, it is a horrible distortion of the facts: nursing a child, particularly at a young age, has been shown to reduce women’s’ risk of breast cancer. Thus, by their logic, by not having a child they are failing to reduce their risk, thus increasing it relative to women who gave birth. Tricky little bastards aren’t they?

Perhaps the most scurrilous claim put forth by this pro-life propaganda is the accusation that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, believed in eugenics and sought to eliminate the “negro population” of the United States. They even take a quote of hers out of context to solidify their claim: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population...” (when she was actually explaining the need to train more African American doctors because they would be better trusted, and would help to dispel such misconceptions).
In actuality, Sanger sough to bring birth control to an underprivileged population which was often denied adequate health services, believing that uncontrolled fertility presented the greatest burden on the poor. Rather than a genocidal conspiracy, her Negro Project improved the quality of life for thousands and was endorsed by W.E.B. Dubois and Eleanor Roosevelt.

· In a segment titled ‘The Overpopulation Myth’, they not only deny that the world is overpopulated (as if anyone seriously advocates abortion for the sake of population control) but actually claim that we are facing (gasp) an under population crisis: “In 64 countries around the world today, including the U.S., the birth rate is below replacement level...we need to start looking at the problem of under population and the economic disaster that will occur as our population rapidly ages”. First of all, their argument only takes into account the birth rate, ignoring the crucial factor of immigration; the reason the United States does not face an economic crisis due to a dwindling population. Furthermore, the marginal population decrease in these largely developed, Western nations are more than compensated for by burgeoning population growth in nations such as India and China where there is, in fact, an overpopulation problem lowering the standard of living for all.

Well, that was cathartic.

Obviously, I have many problems with this piece of propaganda, but perhaps I am most bothered by the fact that the Hoya irresponsibly took advertising money form an organization that would spread falsehoods to the Georgetown student body, all the while knowing that the university’s policies prohibit the other side from getting a fair say. Of course, pro-lifers should have the ability to advocate for their cause on campus, and advertise in publications if they wish, but when the opposition is silenced, the anti-abortion lobby is able to get away with spreading such outrageous claims. Because the university does not allow viewpoints besides the Catholic position to be voiced equally on campus, the debate is reduced to this sort of propaganda on one side, and coat hangers in trees on the other, and the student body is hardly left well-informed as a result.


Rach C said...

I think you bring up several interesting points here, Kipp, not the least of which is the free speech issue. Personally, I support the Hoya's right to print such garbage, but abhor the contents nonetheless. That said, I hope tht most Hoyas are smart enough to consider the source when they look at such an obvious piece of propaganda masquerading as an expose.

But if we were Podunk Technical College, I might feel differently.