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Crosses stood for women as well as babies

| Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Why is it that all the responses to the vandalism of the white crosses symbolizing the abortion protest were written by guys? Of all the reactions to this display that I have heard from students, not one saw a message any deeper than “abortion is evil” in the exhibit. Yes, each cross represents unborn children aborted without being given a chance to live. If you are pro-choice, you undoubtedly see this as a crime, and are upset with the people who criticized the exercise of free speech by using a cross to commemorate an innocent life cut off. To those who vandalized these crosses, I would like to hear your justification for such an act. I personally am anti-abortion, but pro-choice nonetheless; I do not think that my religious beliefs should be forced upon other young women faced with such a difficult situation as an unexpected pregnancy.

However, can we not look beyond merely the pro-choice belief expressed by these crosses? They also represent women battered, raped and pregnant at the age of 14, without the physical or emotional strength to handle a pregnancy.

They represent a society where sex is given and exchanged freely and unwanted pregnancies are common. A single woman with a child she can’t support will be blamed for her error, as people wonder, “Why didn’t she just get an abortion? She’s forcing others to help support her mistake.”

Those crosses represent a mindset that needs to change. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, we should all recognize the need for help and prayer for the women who deal with such issues, be they victims or merely scared young women. Even older or more assured women seeking abortions because they don’t want the pressure or responsibility of a child are a sign that something needs to be fixed in our society. These would-be-mothers need help in understanding and taking control of their own lives.

How can anyone blindly promote the welfare of an unborn child without considering the welfare of the mother? Those crosses symbolize two lives being altered. Guys, can you imagine what it’s like to bear a child, let it grow within your own body, created as a part of yourself and then give it up?

Regardless of any justification, this often leaves emotional scars on the mother. Can those who vandalized those crosses, or condone that vandalism, justify disregarding the position of these women?

Charlie Ebersol mentions in his letter a 16-year-old girl who gets an abortion following abuse and rape, only to see those white crosses years later and deduce the protesters would have preferred she died in place of the child. I don’t think the display limits itself to the rights of the child at all; the crosses stood for the women as much as for the babies. Perhaps one could have been for her, representing a prayer for the healing of her pain, the soul of the child, and her ability to make peace with her past and move on. I don’t see how blatant disrespect for pain, suffering and death can be considered “free speech”. If you have something to say, let’s hear it – and if you resent the beliefs of others being pushed upon you, that’s your right as well – but vandalism of a call to prayer and respect gets you nowhere.

Kirsten Hoelmer


Pasquerilla East

Oct. 12