Pitt Students for Life discuss federal abortion funding and right to life

By Pitt News Staff

On Friday, Oct. 5, representatives from Pitt Students for Life met with staff from The Pitt News to discuss issues concerning women’s health.

For them, the debate over abortion and federally mandated contraception coverage centers on one thing only: protecting the life of an unborn child, who they see as deserving the rights afforded to anybody else.

With this in mind, the group endorses presidential candidate Mitt Romney, believing he will do more than President Barack Obama in protecting the rights of unborn children. The group cites his support of the Hyde Amendment — a rider attached to certain appropriation bills to prevent taxpayer funding for abortions — as well as his opposition to Roe v. Wade and his plan to end funding for Planned Parenthood.

The group goes further than Romney, however, aligning more closely with his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, by seeking an end to all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

This position, while more philosophically consistent than softer stances, is unpopular: Only 20 percent of Americans oppose abortion in all circumstances, according to Gallup. Even Romney, in recent days, has begun moderating his position on abortion.

The Pitt News talked with representatives Elizabeth Ciccocioppo and Jake Schreiber about their positions and their perspectives on the election. Below are some edited excerpts of the conversation.

The Pitt News: What is your group’s position on the 2012 presidential election?

Jake: Our group is in support of Mitt Romney. We are pro-life. We believe a person is a person, no matter how small, and we believe that abortion is wrong and should be illegal.

TPN: What instances do you find of federal funding for abortions?

Jake: Obamacare, which Mitt Romney will repeal, has a lot of money being donated to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood performs a large portion of abortions in America, so that is a lot of money going towards abortions.

TPN: What about all the other things Planned Parenthood does? Would Gov. Romney provide an alternative to Planned Parenthood if all of it were cut?

Elizabeth: There are already other places for people. Right here in Pittsburgh, there is a place on Craig Street called Women’s Choice Network. They provide free ultrasounds, inform women they are pregnant and STD testing. They do all that stuff, except abortions. All their services are free.


TPN: If we get to a place where abortion is totally illegal, what should happen to women who get abortions illegally? What should be the legal consequences?

Jake: We see the child, the fetus we see as a human person with rights. We believe that rights are taken away during abortion, which is a murder. There would be legal consequences, obviously. When a pregnant woman is murdered, we see a double murder charge. We could see abortions as a murder charge. That is a life inside.

TPN: What about health exemptions? Should there be exceptions if the health of the mother is at stake?

Elizabeth: If there is a problem with the pregnancy, where the mother or child could die, the hospital should do everything it can to save the mother and child. If one must die, the hospital will normally choose the life of the mother.

TPN: Do you think that is a morally acceptable solution?

Elizabeth: You’re not deliberately taking the life of either. You are saving as many as you can.

TPN: What if there is a 90 percent chance the woman will die if they don’t abort the baby?

Jake: We are getting back to the life of the child being sacrificed for another life. It is judging which life is more valuable, essentially. Everything should be done in the power of the doctors to save both lives. One life cannot be saved to sacrifice the other.

TPN: Do you think the government should say that if you have a 90 percent chance of dying, you can’t have that abortion option?

Elizabeth: Yes

Jake: We are getting to legal terms. If it’s illgeal to kill a human being, and a fetus, who we believe is a person, is killed, then yes.

TPN: What would you do about the fact the number of illegal, unsafe abortions may increase? How do you propose the government deal with this?

Jake: Here’s the problem we have. Right now we have tax dollars funding legal abortions. We have the ability to get a free abortion and walk out free. By making it illegal, we’d also limit the possibility of any funds going toward abortion. Technically, by paying taxes, some of my tax dollars are going towards abortions. I’m paying for something I don’t believe is right.

The fact that taxpayers are supporting them is disgusting. You [shouldn’t] get an abortion free on our taxpayer dollars, even if it is better for the female’s health when compared to a back-alley abortion.