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What I learned from talking to pro-life activists

Grappling with religion, sexuality, tragedy and hope in our imperfect society

Chico State is a school where immense sexual freedom and promiscuity is contrasted by a strong community of vocal supporters of traditional values. This contrast led me to delve into conversations I never had leading to a meeting with organizers from Chico Respects Life, a pro-life group committed to raising awareness about abortion in Butte County.

Growing up, I saw the pro-life cause as judgmental, radical, authoritarian and invasive. But when meeting an activist on campus who compared the “clump of cells” argument to the way the Nazis dehumanized people to justify their murder, I struggled to refute it.  He did not hold these views out of contempt but out of compassion, which changed my perspective.

And so when visiting Chico Respects Life, my impressions about them being judgmental, religious zealots only caring about the baby was one that the organizers at Chico Respects Life also felt from others. 

All of them were women who had experienced the difficulties and joys of pregnancy and they cared about both the woman and the baby but believed in other options like adoption, cycle tracking, and abstinence. And despite the fact that they were morally opposed to abortion, they believed that even God can forgive it. 

Mary Murphy Waldrough, an organizer and Chico State alumna, recalled being misled as a student.

She was told that having an abortion was as simple as “having a tooth pulled out.” However, when her roommate underwent an abortion, no one checked on her, despite her evident distress, because they did not believe it was of any concern.

This lack of support left her “dying inside” due to the intense trauma she felt ultimately causing her to drop out of school.

Waldrough also mentioned how her aunt confessed on her deathbed to being forced by her father to have a botched abortion that led to her inability to have kids further cementing her opposition to abortion.

Leilani Freitas, another organizer, explained how even though she felt her abortion was immoral, her Episcopal church priest had said it was moral under that branch of Christianity. Spending the next few years struggling to cope with a society that glorifies an action she abhors, she eventually chose to stand against abortion and join the Catholic church which shared her values. 

All of them see abortion as an atrocity, like the holocaust and believe that it needs to be exposed in its full grotesque details. People need to be triggered or else society won’t change.

However, our generation has been trained to speak out about every injustice, -ism and phobia even if it is in the middle east and they lack the expertise, but 50% of the population are discouraged from speaking out against abortion because they lack a uterus.  

This buries the grief that men face when their child’s life is ended. Murphy-Waldorf mentioned how she knew a young adult whose girlfriend had been forced to get an abortion behind his back despite his commitment and capability to raise and financially support the child. Despite being an atheist, he was still morally opposed to abortion and the betrayal would sting for years. 

However, that story shows how abortion is a symptom of a greater sickness in society, but many pro-lifers see it as the sickness itself.

However, many of the organizers at Chico Respects Life like Murphy-Waldorf have collaborated with pregnancy resources centers like Care Net which offer a great alternative to government funded nonprofits like Planned Parenthood due to their abundance of community provided supplies and subsidized women’s healthcare. 

They also believe sex education should focus less on putting on condoms, but rather emphasizing the communication skills, financial planning, and moral compass needed for a stable family. Not every child grows up in a stable household and so if these skills are not taught in “relationship education,” they will suffer in their relationships increasing the likelihood for abortion. 

Abortion marks the end of a journey that could have begun, leaving both the mother and society wondering “what if?”

While I am a libertarian who believes that the government should stay out of most matters of sex, I cannot detach my emotions from the act of dismembering the body of an unborn child, even if it’s sometimes justifiable. However abortions can become obsolete just like how the polio vaccine ended the use of the iron lung by restructuring our society’s values and behaviors.

Ari Sorokin can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Ari Sorokin, Reporter
Dogs are Ari Sorokin's first true love and caring for them is his pride and joy. He loves keeping an active and creative lifestyle through his passion of drawing, writing and yoga. Sorokin is also a bit crazy about Indian culture.

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  • H

    Humberto // Apr 1, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Good work! Excellent writing!

  • H

    hi // Mar 19, 2024 at 2:28 pm

    shut up

    • A

      Ari Sorokin // Mar 26, 2024 at 8:01 pm

      I am open to exploring the other side. If you have any connections please show me. Also thanks for the clout.

      BTW you need to work on your fallacious arguments.