BY JACK SEELEY ‘16
Some 40 years ago, the Supreme Court’s decision to provide women the right to have an abortion was established. Since then, the decision has generated considerable opposition that spreads in ever y direction across the US. Each year, the March for Life in D.C. inspires hundreds of thousands to protest outside the nation’s highest court in order to signify their grievances with the Roe v. Wade ruling. These protests extend as far as Saint Ignatius.
Towards the end of ever y Januar y, one would have to be in complete isolation to miss the signs of our school’s own version of the March for Life. Posters line the walls, prayers give reference to abortion, and theology classes visit the chapel, praying to overturn the decision. The commemoration of Roe v. Wade on our campus is one that rivals the intensity of The Holy War or the Chariot Races. There is a seemingly ubiquitous presence of this court case on campus, and it only serves to exemplify the sincerity Ignatians take to an issue such as this.
Yet, the signs I read and the prayers I hear are missing something critical to the conversation. The posters seem to allude to a certain voicelessness these aborted children have. But what is most notably missing and without a voice in the conversation we hold around campus is a group that is just as voiceless as the children: women.
The debate over abortion and reproductive rights transcends the confines of our school. The absence of large numbers of women at Ignatius leaves out an entirely different perspective on abortion. Yet, we instruct our students to confront an issue that requires two perspectives with only one. It’s not just that we don’t teach the other side of abortion, it’s far worse: We pretend that it doesn’t even exist.
The posters around campus do, however, mention women. They preach that abortion is a violation of women. They say that abortion goes against feminism. They teach that women deserve better than the consequences of abortion.
But one must ask, in all of this: Do we really have the right to impose our values on a group of people that constitute 50% of the population? Our campus is undeniably made up of an almost overwhelming number of men. Should we continue to allow our sense of duty to continue perpetuating a culture that puts others into submission?
The impact of Roe v. Wade on our society is likely to be felt for many years to come. All I ask is that Ignatius go about teaching abortion to its students differently; it need not change its message, but rather, its approach. We shouldn’t pretend that our own way of thinking is the only way to think about abortion, or even pregnancy in general. Insisting doctrine upon its students without the proper background or insight may help us to be men of faith, but men without the ability to truly think, or even worse, the ability to listen. If we’re able to gain a capacity to understand the feelings of those around us, maybe Saint Ignatius could create a generation of students with both the principles and perspective to change the world for the better.