WBEZ | Roe v. Wade http://www.wbez.org/tags/roe-v-wade Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aborted baby flag removal sparks debate at DePaul University http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/aborted-baby-flag-removal-sparks-debate-depaul-university-105199 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/southie3.jpg" title="" /></div><div>Tuesday, January 22 marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision on abortion and women&rsquo;s sexual health, but at DePaul University, that day will be remembered very differently.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the university&#39;s quad, the conservative student group Young Americans for Freedom erected a pro-life memorial to their cited 54 million fetuses aborted in the decades since Roe&#39;s passage. To do so, the students hung pink and blue flags in the quad as a form of public protest. To counterprotest, another group of pro-choice students took the flags down, distributing them in garbage cans across campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to a source close to the pro-choice protestors, they thought it was the most peaceful way to respond. Some students planned on writing affirming messages on the flags and returning them to their previous positions, as a reminder that this issue isn&rsquo;t just about babies, it&rsquo;s about women&rsquo;s rights. They hoped that doing so would send a message to pro-life students on campus and start a dialogue at a school that often ignores issues of sexual health. No one expected it would go as far as it did. No one thought it would mean they might not graduate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The problem began when an <a href="http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/pro-life-display-destroyed-by-vandals-at-catholic-university.html">article</a> from Fox News, the Pied Piper of American conservatism, threw ideological gasoline all over the conflict, branding the pro-choice students as &ldquo;<a href="http://www.christianpost.com/news/vandals-destroy-pro-life-display-at-depaul-university-conservatives-say-intolerance-growing-88825/">vandals</a>&rdquo; and Young Americans for Freedom as heroes of the GOP and warriors of free speech. Fox writer Todd Starnes&mdash;who comes personally endorsed by Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity&mdash;used the conflict as a way to bash the pro-choice students as being bigots. Other articles continue to refer to the students as &ldquo;leftists&rdquo; and &ldquo;radicals&rdquo; (or sometimes <a href="http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/01/radical-leftists-trash-a-pro-life-display-at-depaul-university/">both</a>!) and the act as a &ldquo;<a href="http://www.lifenews.com/2013/01/23/activists-trash-depaul-university-memorial-for-aborted-babies/">trashing</a>&rdquo; of students&#39; rights.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>To further this indictiment, Fox spoke to Kristopher Del Campo, the DePaul chairman for Young Americans for Freedom. Del Campo said, &ldquo;It is a sad thing to see that liberal minded students aren&rsquo;t more tolerant, and don&rsquo;t respect the views of those who respect the lives of the unborn. It&rsquo;s really discouraging and I&rsquo;m saddened by that.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a follow-up <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/flags-under-fire-pro-life-display-disposed-of-under-suspicious-circumstances-1.2976795#.UQnyN2f3GWZ">article</a> in the DePaulia, the university&rsquo;s student-run newspaper, Del Campo went much further, referring to the flags&rsquo; removal as an &ldquo;act of hate.&rdquo; (He also says that liberals are more likely to be the perpetrators of hate crimes.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite an apology from the university&rsquo;s Dean of Students, Art Munin, Del Campo advocated that the university go further, calling for expulsion for all the students involved.&nbsp; Del Campo told the DePaulia that YAF has surveillance footage of the students responsible and that they will show that alleged footage to the police. In the meantime, Del Campo stated that he like to see DePaul take responsibility in hunting down those responsible: &ldquo;If you really want to find these students, put out pictures&hellip;Let other students see it and identify students.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Del Campo&rsquo;s advocacy for a student witch hunt isn&rsquo;t the first time that the school&rsquo;s faced free speech issues at DePaul, as a &ldquo;satirical&rdquo; Affirmative Action Bake Sale in 2006 highlighted the extreme divisions between conservative and liberal students on the nation&rsquo;s largest Catholic campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One of the pro-choice students involved in the incident, who asked not to be identified (and will be referred to as &ldquo;X&quot;), stated that incidents like these are endemic of a divided campus, an ongoing problem that the university has failed to holistically tackle. When X started at the university in 2009, students put up <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/university-groups-work-to-promote-healthy-religious-climate-1.2155312">swastikas</a> in Corcoran Hall, a residence building at DePaul, and in some of the other dorms. In 2011, another <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/university-groups-work-to-promote-healthy-religious-climate-1.2155312#.UQlQEmf3GWY">incident</a> arose when a student began to shout out anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slurs in the student center.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to X, the pro-choice students involved didn&rsquo;t mean to &ldquo;fuel this fire&rdquo; at DePaul. This isn&#39;t what anyone wanted. They didn&#39;t even know that Young Americans for Freedom existed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because pro-choice groups are informally banned on campus, X&mdash;like many students I spoke with&mdash;assumed that pro-life groups would not be allowed to operate either, due to the university&rsquo;s strict procedures on sexually charged material and student organizations. Per school policy, student organizations aren&rsquo;t allowed to distribute condoms, and sex ed is heavily censored.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Currently, the university offers a Sexual Health and Violence Prevention center (that many students don&#39;t even know exists) and a undergraduate group called the Student Health Advocates. However, it&#39;s hard for these groups to be effective on a campus that won&#39;t allow them to hold public demonstrations on Safe Sex 101&mdash;and give students the educational resources they need. Because of their strained relationship with sex, DePaul University <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/trojan-ranks-depaul-most-sexually-unhealthy-university-1.2685719#.UQby2Gf3GWY">claimed</a> the title of &ldquo;Most Sexually Unhealthy University&rdquo; in 2011.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The DePaul administration claims that the university&rsquo;s Catholic affiliation precludes amending these policies, even though other religious institutions (like Siena) allow for the distribution of condoms on campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, X believes that the strict adherence to Catholic doctrine in the school&rsquo;s sexual policies is a strange double standard, as the university allows LGBTQ groups to operate very publicly on campus and has been a champion of queer student visibility. In addition to an LGBTQ studies department, the school boasts three active queer student groups and allows them to throw yearly drag shows, which are a tentpole of the spring quarter. The 2011 show even took place in the DePaul Atrium, the common space of the school&#39;s student center.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because the university&#39;s LGBTQ leadership has often been stereotyped as male (which was also an issue when I was a DePaul undergraduate), X remarked that queer visibility has been easier for DePaul administration to swallow.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As a student heavily involved in both LGBTQ and feminist organizing at DePaul, X stated that feminists on campus are &quot;treated differently because they have vaginas.&quot; This creates a culture where some female students feel unsafe, which include those students involved in last Tuesday&#39;s incident. X put it bluntly: &quot;When you step on this campus, it feels like you <em>don&#39;t</em> have a choice.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because of this gender gap, the student worried that DePaul is going to use the flag removal to further marginalize the school&#39;s feminist and pro-choice communities. When X was initially questioned about the event, the student told me that administrators were already looking for links to feminist groups and leaders on campus. They were searching for a target. Currently, the university is seeking possible expulsion for anyone who was involved in the flag removal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tracey Harkins, a senior DePaul student in Women and Gender Studies, agreed that gender inequality on campus is a huge problem and said that DePaul should show the same progressive stance to sexuality that they have demonstrated on queer issues. Instead of further silencing women&rsquo;s voices on campus and scapegoating them for the university&#39;s problems, the university should use this as an opportunity to start a conversation on sexual health, a dialogue that should have taken place a long time ago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Harkins, the conflict &ldquo;speaks to a real issue at DePaul,&rdquo; causing her to &ldquo;question how DePaul handles a range of women-related issues.&rdquo; Harkins cited this incident as yet another failure from the university in regards to its female population, as the school has yet to take action against sexual assaults that occurred on campus last fall. For Harkins, this is representative an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nico-lang/sexual-assault-awareness_b_1427525.html">ongoing problem</a> at &ldquo;campuses across the country,&rdquo; where women are &ldquo;made to feel devalued&rdquo; by administrations that don&rsquo;t take their sexual health seriously. She argued that &ldquo;women cannot feel safe at an institutional level if they are considered unequal.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In response to DePaul&#39;s sex problems, Harkins is working with a team of student organizers on &ldquo;Say Yes to Consent,&rdquo; which hopes to change the culture of sex at DePaul and on Chicago&rsquo;s campuses. With student members from universities across the city&mdash;including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College and Northwestern University&mdash;the group hopes pressure university administrators to include policies educating students on sexual assault, consent and women&#39;s health, rather than sweeping these issues under the rug.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As statistics show that 1<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/06/one-in-four-women-will-be_n_706513.html"> in 4</a> women will be sexually assaulted before graduating college, Harkins feels the best way to commemorate Roe v. Wade is to continue the fight for greater awareness: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve come a long way in the past 40 years, but our work is far from over.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago for WBEZ.org. Follow Nico on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang" target="_hplink">@Nico_Lang</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 29 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/aborted-baby-flag-removal-sparks-debate-depaul-university-105199 In U.S., abortion debate predates Roe by decades http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-12/here-there-us-abortion-debate-predates-roe-decades-90072 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7203440510_0bd5feabbd_z.jpg" title="While the demand for abortions in the U.S. is on the decline, the debate remains polarized and political. (Flickr/American Life League)" /></div><p><em>This episode of Worldview was originally broadcast on August 12, 2011. </em></p><p>Friday we conclude our <a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank"><em>Here, There</em></a> series on abortion with a look at the debate in the United States.</p><p>Earlier in the week, we learned that abortion in France is framed in medical, rather than moral and political terms, that laws in Mexico vary by state and that Portuguese women often struggle to find doctors to perform the procedure.</p><p>Though certain parallels can be drawn between our debate and those in other countries, U.S. abortion politics stand out as particularly divisive. The extremes on both sides dominate the cultural conversation. Politicians, activists and the media rarely attempt to find a middle ground.</p><p>To make sense of how we got here, we talk to <a href="http://cwpp.pdx.edu/content/dr-melody-rose" target="_blank">Melody Rose</a>, author of <em><a href="http://www.cqpress.com/product/Safe-Legal-and-Unavailable-American.html" target="_blank">Safe, Legal and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States</a>&nbsp;</em>and&nbsp;founder and director of the&nbsp;<a href="http://cwpp.pdx.edu/" target="_blank">Center for Women, Politics and Policy</a>&nbsp;at Portland State University. Rose takes us through the long and winding path of U.S. abortion, starting at least a century before <em>Roe v. Wade</em>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>On the abortion debate&rsquo;s starting point in America:</strong></p><p>&quot;[In the mid-19th century] doctors led the charge for restricting access to abortions in part to take away the clients of their midwife competitors &mdash; who normally handled abortions. . . Many women in abortion practices were not very safe, so doctors also made a safety claim.&quot;</p><p><strong>On pro-life activism</strong>:</p><p>&quot;Most of the pro-life activism in the U.S. in the 20th century was driven by social conservatives from protestant ranks. We can certainly look to the Catholic Church around its policies, which became stricter in the 1960s, but most of the social movement organizations in this country that formed in prior to and in response to<em> Roe vs. Wade. . .&nbsp;</em>were Protestant based.&quot;</p><p><strong>Before <em>Roe v. Wade</em></strong>:</p><p>&quot;[The 1873 Comstock Act] essentially equated any form of reproductive health advertising with obscenity and made it illegal to pass any of that material through U.S. mail. Most women received a lot of their information about reproductive health decisions and fertility options through the old fashioned women&rsquo;s magazines. Comstock was very effective in limiting ads for abortion, which cut off a lot of access for women.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Abortion became inaccessible for women in this country. For some periods of that time we had rising birth rates, more self-aborting and access to illegal procedures, which was leaving a lot of women dead and physically damaged. These trends in the mid-20th century lead us to the women&rsquo;s movement in the 1960s.&quot;</p><p><strong>Leading up to <em>Roe v. Wade</em></strong>:</p><p>&quot;Doctors begin to agitate on behalf of liberalizing access to abortion because they frequently saw women desperately seeking ways to control their fertility in ways that wouldn&rsquo;t leave them badly, physically wounded. So doctors began the movement to policy change in the 1960s and the women&rsquo;s organizations followed suit.&quot;</p><p>&quot;By 1973 when <em>Roe v. Wade</em> was handed down by the Supreme Court, there had been an entire decade or two of activism from doctors and women&rsquo;s liberal organizations.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the landmark <em>Roe v. Wade </em>decision: </strong></p><p>&quot;In 1973, Justice Blackman spent some time researching abortion practices across the world and cultures when deciding this case. He found that people were most uncomfortable with ending a pregnancy past twelve weeks.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Blackman created the &#39;trimester system.&#39; The ruling set up a system that gave women the greatest right in the first trimester. Following that, the state&rsquo;s interest in the &#39;future citizen&#39; grows as the emerging fetus grows.&quot;</p><p><strong>Important points following <em>Roe v. Wade</em>:</strong></p><p>&quot;The <em>Webster v. Reproductive Services </em>ruling opened the doors to more pro-life policy. This case claimed that if a fetus has rights at the end of pregnancy, then it certainly does at the beginning. It gave a lot of hope to pro-life activism.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The 1992 case of <em>Planned Parenthood v. Casey</em> created the concept that states have the ability to restrict abortion so long as that restriction does not create an &#39;undue burden to the woman.&#39; And since then, we have been debating what an &#39;undue burden to a woman&#39; really means.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>On what we face today:</strong></p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s critical to know this trend: The vast majority &mdash;&nbsp;about 90 percent &mdash; of counties in this nation have no abortion provider.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Abortions are going down in the U.S. A lot of it has to do with contraceptive policy which is pretty liberal and the U.S. has been successful in controlling unintended pregnancy, which has reduced the demand for abortion.&quot;</p></p> Fri, 20 Jul 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-12/here-there-us-abortion-debate-predates-roe-decades-90072 Illinois abortion rates at 37-year low http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-abortion-rates-37-year-low-95833 <p><p>The <a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/abortion/Abortion73-current.htm">number of abortions</a> in Illinois continues to drop. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports between 2009 and 2010, abortion rates decreased by nine percent.</p><p>Tom Schafer is with the agency and said he doesn't know why there are fewer procedures being done. He said his organization is in charge of collecting the numbers and not interpreting them.&nbsp;</p><p>"You will see these numbers spun in all sorts of different direction. Everybody has their own opinion on this issue. It's very controversial," Schafer said.</p><p>Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate say they're pleased with the drop in abortions, and both take credit for it. Ann Scheidler is vice president of the Pro-life Action League and said campaigns featuring women speaking about their abortion experiences are one reason for the drop. Carole Brite is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois and said increased availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives has made some of the difference.</p><p><a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17000.html">Population growth in Illinois</a> has continued to be well below the national average, and <a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/bdmd/birth2.htm">state's birth rate</a> has been in overall decline for a decade.</p><p>In 2010, nearly 42,000 abortions were performed in Illinois. That's the lowest rate in 37 years.</p><p>This week marks the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jan 2012 20:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-abortion-rates-37-year-low-95833 Worldview 8.8.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-8811 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-august/2011-08-02/indiana.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The battle over abortion has divided this country since the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in <em>Roe v. Wade</em>. To try to gain some insights into our cultural divide, we'll spend the week comparing the debate in the U.S. to those of other countries. It's part of our occasional series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/herethere" target="_self"><em>Here, There</em></a>, where we examine how other cultures approach universal issues. We kick off the series with WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/michael-puente" target="_self">Michael Puente</a>, who tells us why Indiana has become ground zero in the country’s battle over abortion. We also take a look at France, where, like the U.S., abortion became legal in the 1970s. Rather than having a protracted political debate, the French have reached a consensus on the issue.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-8811