Columnist responds to Right to Life

HANNAH CARR-MURPHY, Opinion Columnist

First, I will say that you are right. “Pro-life status,” hereafter called anti-choice in this letter, “does not necessitate religious belief.” I made a mistake in not mentioning that all types of believers and nonbelievers can be anti-choice. When I chose to use RTL as an example of how national issues play out on our campus, I thought the strong link between conservative Christianity and anti-choice rhetoric needed no caveat, since the overwhelming majority of politicians trying to defund Planned Parenthood (PP) are doing so from a moral standpoint based on their Christian beliefs. In this respect, I was not clear enough that UNI RTL is not a Christian organization, and I apologize deeply.

Since you had the courtesy to point out my conspicuous oversight, the very least I can do is respond in kind on a few details of your letter.

While there may be fewer PPs across the U.S. in comparison to other “better equipped” [citation needed] health clinics, the fact remains that more than one-third of low-income women who receive publicly supported contraceptive care are served by PPs, according to a July 2015 factsheet from the Guttmacher Institute.

Your anonymous caller to PP could have saved the time of the person on the other end of the phone by educating themselves on what a discounted fee scale is. The discounted fee scale model, used by many healthcare providers, makes sure people only pay what they can afford. PP patients are asked to bring in proof of income so Title X benefits can be fairly applied, and this results in care being free to many qualifying women.

Although you assert RTL is not a religious organization, your partner, Alternatives, with its Christ-centered mission statement, certainly is. So, while pregnancy tests at Alternatives are free in monetary terms, they come with the emotional baggage of an organization that sponsors teen purity events and urges teens to avoid “the celebration of immorality all around us,” including an adult’s choice to have consensual sex. Alternatives and places like it pose as women’s healthcare organizations when they can more accurately be described as a poison. They shame women who make a choice to have sex for pleasure and do not help provide contraceptives, at great cost to women’s health. Since one of the goals of Alternatives is “fulfilling God’s work of saving babies,” and another is helping people who come in “experience the gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” I’m surprised that a secular, scientific, fact-based organization like RTL would partner with them.