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Anti-Choicers Head Back to School: Dispatches from the UW

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Posted by Social Media Intern Michelle Auster

Washington may have a great record on choice, but anti-choice groups can be found on even our most liberal college campuses. Last Wednesday, I spotted a registered student organization called “Students for Human Life” handing out flyers on the Quadrangle at the University of Washington (full disclosure: I am senior at UW).

Several club members stopped passersby to give them pink sheets of cardstock for their campaign, “The Planned Parenthood Project.” The project appropriates Planned Parenthood’s own campaign designs, but instead of promoting safe sex and access to healthcare, the large pink banners came with headers like this:

“Planned Parenthood’s Dirty Secret”

and

“Where You Can Go For Real Help”

The most ridiculous feature to their display had to be the dozens of miniature pink crosses laid across the grass, as if to say, “Look here at all of these dead babies that Jesus is mourning. They’re pink because Planned Parenthood did it.”

Um…okay?

The pink sheets they were handing out were clearly designed to attack Planned Parenthood for offering abortion services by citing choice figures and bolding them for added horror. Taking data from their annual report, they cited that Planned Parenthood’s facilities performed a total of 333,964 abortions in 2011.

However, they conveniently forgot to cite that that number accounted for a grand total of 3% of all of their medical services (bolded for added horror).

And what about the 639,384 breast care exams they also provided in the same year?

Or the 3,744,949 STI tests for both men and women?

Not to mention the 1,179,263 pregnancy tests and other prenatal care services.

Oh yeah, these statistics are also readily available from Planned Parenthood’s annual report, so where was all of that on Students for Human Life’s cards?

To be fair, these demonstrators were a far cry from the typical shock ‘n awe anti-choice protesters that people normally see picketing sexual health clinics. They were not holding any giant, politicized posters of fetuses, or encouraging anyone to REPENT and TRUST JESUS* in giant bold typeface.

On Students for Human Life’s website, they even go so far as to say:

“We pledge to treat every person, including those who disagree with us, with honor and respect.”

At a campus as liberal as the UW, it’s unlikely that the group will gain much traction. And I’m glad that they have a statement of respect on their website for those who disagree with them. How many anti-choice groups do that? But the deception in their literature — and their suggestion that students seek “real” help from limited service pregnancy centers (more on them from NARAL later) — is a pretty questionable way of going about spreading the word.

*It’s always important to note that being religious and being pro-choice are far from mutually exclusive. Appropriating religious language (and often misreading it) for the sake of an extremist antifeminist agenda is the real problem with this type of signage.

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