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Film explores lasting implications of Roe v. Wade

| Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and Belles For Life sponsored a screening of the film “40” in conjunction with a discussion with John Morales, director of the film and founder of Pro-Life Champions, and Linda Couri, a former Planned Parenthood counselor and the current director of the Institute for Lay Formation with the Archdiocese of Chicago. The film focused on the 40 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion and features women from both the pro-life and pro-choice movement.

Morales said he was not always at the forefront of the pro-life movement — he found his passion for the movement when he and his wife could not conceive and eventually adopted their son.

“I’m very passionate about this issue because I believe that the issue of abortion is not merely a religious issue or a political issue,” he said. “It’s not just a Catholic issue or an Evangelical or a Protestant issue. It’s not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. I believe that the issue of life is the most important human and civil rights issue of our time because without the right to life, there are no other rights to talk about.”

Couri said the two central features of her pro-life position are her past work with Planned Parenthood and the fact that she herself has had an abortion.

“These features of my life have contributed significantly to my thoughts on abortion,” Couri said. “I have come to the conclusion that in the long run, abortion is not the solution to truly help and protect women.”

According to Couri, the issue of abortion “is tearing women apart from women.”

“Women need women. We need to get together. Women need to save the world,” she said. “We’re just not talking. The woman-to-woman fight has become to extreme and so ugly that all of the gifts that women bring to the table in terms of communication and problem solving have been lost.”

Sophomore Roni Hanks said her concern is the potential danger that making abortion illegal poses. Making abortion illegal will not stop women from having abortions, but instead would increase the number of women who die from unsafe and illegal abortions, she said.

“According to my textbooks, over three-fourths of women who are considering abortion say that they would still go through with it even if it wasn’t safe or legal,” Hanks said. “I think pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike can agree that the needs of women in our society are not met.”

Couri said her concern lies with the fact that the law has moral authority. Though she said if she could instantly make abortion illegal, she would do it, she also recognizes that the pro-life movement needs to consider what they will do if abortion does become illegal.

“I very much care about this country,” Couri said. “It makes me nervous that there is a law that says it’s okay to kill people. There is a moral authority that comes forth from law.”

Since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973, the sexual culture changed drastically, Couri said. Premarital sex became more popular and abortion became the easy solution for unwanted pregnancy, she said.

“What I want to know is why women sleep with and have sex with men and give it away so often,” Couri said. “I’m very concerned with how much women can engage in sexual activity with people who are not willing to be fathers. … Never in the course of history could women control their fertility, which really kept social mores kind of at bay. All of a sudden, men now have access to the one thing they want the most.

“The problem is, women have lost their power in a lot of ways because one power we do have is sexual power. … I think prevention of unwanted pregnancy has to begin with who are women choosing to sleep with.”

The blame for unwanted pregnancy should not be placed solely on the woman, senior Vanessa Troglia said.

“My problem is it puts virginity or abstinence in a box,” Troglia said. “It makes it a woman’s responsibility and not a human responsibility. … If we’re really talking in feminist terms, it should be ‘nobody should be giving it away.’ My problem is the responsibility is put solely on women instead of putting it on both partners equally, which is a sad reality.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole