In response to 'Buffer zone at anti-abortion protests is the least that can be done'

I’m writing in response to “Buffer zone at anti-abortion protests is the least that can be done” by Samaria Johnson. Ms. Johnson made a number of untrue claims that, as someone who spends time outside our local abortion facility, I would like to address.

Among the host of her claims, in reference to pro-lifers like myself outside abortion centers, is that “there's no real concern for patients' well-being. The least obnoxious of their signs pictures a preterm fetus underneath the words ‘Choose Life.’ Another warns that abortion kills a life.”

Bama Students for Life and the 40 Days for Life campaign outside the West Alabama Women’s Center, the largest abortion provider in Alabama, represent a large portion of people who realize that abortion hurts both the child it dismembers and his or her mother. Just as Ms. Johnson believes that “escorting patients from their cars to the clinic’s front door is one way” she expresses her belief, we have the right and societal duty to offer women alternatives to the devastating decision of abortion.

We do this peacefully and respectfully but with the urgency of knowing that we are the last sign many women look for if they are wavering on their decision. Last semester, in fact, six mothers didn’t go through with their abortions because of our 40 Days for Life campaign.

Despite Ms. Johnson’s erroneous claims, none of our literature includes “debunked and unscientific information or lots of Bible verses.” On the contrary, our packets contain information that women have a right to know before they make such a life-changing decision. There is nothing “unscientific” about providing women with vital details, such as the fact that their developing child has a heartbeat at three weeks, and at 20 weeks’ gestation, a fetus can feel pain.

Ms. Johnson condemned the anti-abortion position as being “obnoxious.” The vast majority of Americans do not share her position. In 2012, Gallop reported that only 38 percent of Americans view abortion as “morally acceptable.” The same survey showed that only 25 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances. This survey also noted that 50 percent of our fellow citizens describe themselves as being “pro-life” while only 41 percent describe themselves as “pro-choice,” with the latter decreasing in most similar polls conducted since the early 2000s.

Furthermore, Ms. Johnson’s claims that “[abortion is] by far one of the safest medical procedures anyone can undergo” ignores the reality that abortion is never safe for the whole, distinct living human being it kills, nor is it safe for the scores of women who have been killed, rendered infertile or otherwise maimed by dangerous abortionists like LeRoy Carhart and Bruce Norman. I challenge anyone who thinks abortion is “safe” to watch a video of a late-term abortion. The overwhelming majority of people will find it violent and extremely disturbing.

Finally, in reference to sidewalk counselors such as myself, Ms. Johnson stated, “None of them are truly pro-life. They seem to only be for forced births.” I can personally attest that people like my fellow pro-life students are the reason that I’m alive right now. As the last of three children, I was one of those often called “unwanted pregnancies.” My parents already had one boy and one girl and were barely financially stable. Doctors told my mother due to her older age of 44, complications or developmental abnormalities could arise.

Statistically, my chances of being aborted were very high due to being both African-American and a third conceived child, but thankfully my mother chose to give me life instead. She never lets me forget how much she is glad I am a part of her life and how much joy I give her. When my friends and I go to the West Alabama Women’s Center, we do so because we value life. Consequently, we value and defend the lives of others. This means trying to save the most defenseless members of the human family – those in the womb – while also supporting their mothers. Those of us involved in the anti-abortion movement are motivated by love and compassion for mothers and their children, and our actions outside the West Alabama Women’s Center reflect this.

Anthony Berry is a freshman majoring in political science.

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