By Suchir Govindarajan
The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion held a Lion’s Hour discussion titled, “Pro-life vs. Pro-Choice” in the Brower Student Center Room 225 on Thursday, Nov. 8.
Students, administration and faculty members engaged in a conversation about the pro-choice and pro-life debate in American politics. Students expressed strong opinions on relevant issues such as safe sex, abortion and contraception.
The discussion was facilitated by Don Trahan Jr., the director of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion. Unlike the Critical Conversations where there is no set topic, Lion’s Hour was created to discuss a particular topic or idea and further advance College President Kathryn Foster’s commitment to universal inclusion.
Some students reasoned that abortions should be stopped after 21 to 24 weeks, after a fetus’ age of viability where it can survive on its own without its mother. Other students countered that the fetus’ life begins at conception.
The group then conversed about sex education, and some students believed it was necessary for both high school and college students to be properly educated on contraception and safe sex. The group came to the consensus that providing resources on sex education would allow students to solve the issues surrounding abortion altogether.
Another student said that although sex education and access to contraceptives is important, nothing is guaranteed and that women should have options and resources when contraception fails.
Elisa Rios, a senior psychology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major, explained how students could be both pro-choice and pro-life, yet it is hard to have open conversation about the polarizing topic.
“We live in a political climate where we are so in the extremes that we can’t even look at each other in the face.” Rios said. “We can’t even see each other.”
The discussion aimed to be inclusive of opposing mindsets instead of turning into a heated battle between the two sides. Participants of the discussion felt that active dialogue such as Lion’s Hour fosters open-mindedness over a contentious argument.
“I’ve seen people fight and try to end good friendships and relationships over the fact they don’t have the same beliefs,” said Victoria Kiernan, a senior nursing major and a member of Students For Life. “It doesn’t make up who you are as a person, that’s really important to keep in mind.”