On Thursday, April 25, Miami University Students for Life for America (MUSFLA) hosted the lecture “Lies Feminists Tell” by Kristin Hawkins, president of the national Students for Life for America.
In response to MUSFLA’s event, Feminists Working on Revolutionary Democracy (F-WORD) hosted their “The Truth About Choice” discussion in place of their weekly meetings, at the same time and across the hall.
With the tagline “We Are the Pro-Life Generation” scattered across the Farmer School of Business (FSB) lecture hall, many audience members were there to support Hawkins’ message.
Ellen Wittman, president of MUSFLA, brought Hawkins to campus as a part of her speaking tour.
“There’s kind of a cultural pressure for women to be told that you can do school or have a job, or have your baby … you can’t do both.” Wittman said. “Students for Life is here to say, ‘you can do both. We’re here to support you.’”
First-year students Collin Finn and Taylor Armstrong attended the event.
“I’m a big pro-lifer, and I believe in the rights of the unborn,” Finn said.
Armstrong takes a more moderate approach to the topic.
“I’m a little in the middle when it comes to things,” he said. “I understand that there are exceptions that need to be addressed. It’s not an easy issue. I think both sides could agree on that.”
The lecture attracted non-college students as well. Sharon Oberschlake, a teacher in the Talawanda school district, Deby Henry, an Oxford resident, and Judy Allen, the first lady of Oxford Bible Church came together.
“I’m a pro-life person,” Oberschlake said, “and I just like to see young people who are also promoting pro-life.”
“I think it’s really encouraging for us as an older generation to see that there’s a younger generation that’s also pro-life,” she said.
The lecture hall seats about 150. But MUSFLA had to “turn people away” because there weren’t enough seats for everyone to attend, Wittman said.
The demographics of the audience were mainly white college-aged men, older white women and few people of color.
Hawkins discussed five “lies of the modern feminist movement” in her lecture: sex is without consequence, contraception is necessary for the advancement of women, abortion is needed, abortion is harmless and the Equal Rights Amendment must be ratified.
She also discussed the importance of support systems for “post-abortive” individuals, and those who have decided to carry a baby to term, referring to optionline.org and hopeafterabortion.com. These websites also mention how people can help “post-abortive” individuals heal after the process.
“We’re not saying, ‘if you’ve had an abortion, or if you’ve been party to an abortion, that you are bad,” Hawkins said. “Many people in the pro-life movement serve … because they themselves know firsthand the reality of abortion.”
In the beginning of her lecture, Hawkins acknowledged the controversy of her topic.
“Why is it anytime [MUSFLA] does anything on this campus, everything gets ripped down?” she asked in her lecture. “Because today’s modern feminist movement demonizes all choices besides abortion. And it’s always about abortion.”
“The feminists are afraid,” Hawkins went on to say. “That’s why they tear down the posters. That’s why they don’t want to have a discussion.”
The lecture focused on the divided perspectives that dominate campus.
Lexi Scherzinger, a junior and F-WORD member, first heard about the lecture through a sandwich board outside Armstrong.
“[I was] viscerally angry,” she said. She wanted to “do something about it.”
Scherzinger tore down flyers that advertised the lecture and placed a tarp that read “My Body, My Choice” over a larger advertisement for the event.
“My belief is that if you stay neutral in situations of oppression, you’ve taken the side of the oppressor,” she said. “I know there are more productive ways of protesting, but I think I was doing something.”
Across the hall from Lies Feminists Tell, F-WORD discussed its own views on abortion.
“F-WORD advocates for gender equality, feminism, sexual assault and harassment prevention and provides a platform and a space for those affected by these issues to feel comfortable and safe,” senior and executive club member of F-WORD Abigail Karr said.
“We wanted to provide a safe and educational opportunity for students who felt angry and upset about the talk being held next door. We are not about violence; we just want discussions and women to know the resources that are available to them,” Karr said. “At first, members wanted to attend MUSFLA’s event and protest it, but we thought holding an event would be more beneficial to the community.”
During F-WORD’s event, issues regarding abortions and resources for women were discussed. Room 0026 of FSB was filled with approximately 50 students, ranging in ages, ethnicities and genders talking about abortion.
Members of F-WORD’s executive board spoke about the values that ground the foundation and preservation of their club, while providing contact information of resources near the Oxford area available to everyone.
Although both events were in direct contrast of one another there were no interactions between students or faculty in the lobby area between the two rooms.
Miami University police officers were present for the two events. However, when asked, the officers refused to comment on whether or not their presence was specifically requested for the evening’s lectures more so than any other event.
But there was conversation between pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion, especially at the F-WORD event.
“I attended F-WORD’s event even though I am a member of MUSFLA because I wanted to learn more and hear about their perspective and be able to start a conversation,” junior Jessie Hicks said.
During F-WORD’s event, Hicks provided an opposing perspective and chance for those with different opinions to discuss their differing beliefs in a respectful manner.
Junior Zoe Bay could not decide which event that she wanted to attend.
“I support F-WORD and their event, but I wanted to hear both sides of the argument,” Bay said. “I feel like it is good to be an informed person. I don’t want to limit myself to only hearing voices that I agree with.”
The Miami Student uses AP style descriptors when referencing the two sides of the abortion debate.