Although reproductive rights are not typical fodder for lunch conversation, H*yas for Choice hopes to bring these talks to the forefront this week with a series of gatherings aimed at raising awareness of the issue.
“Choice Week,” sponsored by the pro-abortion rights group, will include a panel discussion on religion and abortion, as well as a condom giveaway at a table in Red Square. On Monday, the group sponsored a program encouraging students to write thank you cards to abortion providers.
“We’re hoping to make choice issues and reproductive health issues something that students feel comfortable talking about,” said Morgan McDaniel (SFS ’13), vice president of H*yas for Choice. “We’re really just trying to let pro-choice students know that there is a place where they can discuss their ideas and that their ideas are valid.”
Not all students agree with the message H*yas for Choice presents.
“Right to Life evidently disagrees with the fundamental abortion issue which H*yas for Choice advocates,” Mary Grace Reich (SFS ’13), the group’s secretary, said in an email. “However, we recognize the value of having an open dialogue about the disagreement. The best way for us to strengthen the effectiveness of our argument in reaching our opposition is to understand and address their concerns.”
Life Week, an annual event held by the group, will take place April 10-16.
On Monday morning, H*yas for Choice’s, thank you card program began in Red Square, and the group will give out condoms starting Thursday morning. Programs like the group’s thank you card event are important, McDaniel explained, because abortion providers often face threats to their personal safety.
“We believe it’s a really important service they’re offering, and it’s a really thankless task, especially considering that so many abortion providers face violence and risk their lives,” she said.
H*yas for Choice will also hold a panel discussion Wednesday on the role of religion in the pro-abortions rights movement. The event will include speakers from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a collection of pro-abortion rights religious groups from across the United States.
Throughout its history, H*yas for Choice has often maintained a rocky relationship with the Georgetown administration, primarily because its views supportive of abortion rights conflict with church doctrine. The university has denied funding for the group since 1992 on the grounds that the organization’s advocacy violates Catholic teaching.