Beautiful choice


We will attempt to educate the University community on the value of human life and in… We will attempt to educate the University community on the value of human life and in matters pertaining to abortion and the right to life. We will seek to foster and support positive alternatives to abortion for pregnant women, especially those in the University community. We will foster positive attitudes toward human sexuality and parenthood.

This is the mission of the new undergraduate anti-abortion group “Beautiful Choice,” which held its first meeting Monday evening in the William Pitt Union.

“There are a lot of ideas we want to do as a club,” said N’Djamina Johnson, a Pitt sophomore and president of Beautiful Choice, as she outlined such plans as a trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in an anti-abortion demonstration.

“To do all these things, we need people and we need money,” Johnson said.

After finishing with business matters, Johnson yielded the floor to the evening’s speaker, Angela Fortunato, who is business manager and secretary for the graduate student anti-abortion organization, “Do No Harm.”

Fortunato had been asked to give a lecture on the basics of abortion, and she began by trying to explain the number of abortions that have been performed since Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 case that interpreted the right to an abortion from the rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

“There would be one-third more of our generation if there were not abortions,” Fortunato said.

Fortunato also revealed that, as of 2001, there had been 43,358,592 abortions in the United States. She tried to cut through what she said she sees as obscure language used to hide the facts of abortion.

“When we have to talk about abortion, we have to start with the reality of people,” Fortunato said.

Describing her change from an abortion-rights to an anti-abortion perspective, Fortunato spoke about a mock presidential election in 1988 that occurred when she was in junior high school. She voted for Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis, she said, out of the fear that voting for Republican candidate George H.W. Bush would cause women to die from back-alley abortions.

Fortunato repeatedly spoke about the personhood of the fetus, and how it was no different from a person.

“No one is going to debate you about [the fetus] being a life — it’s been proven,” Fortunato said.

“We are definitely talking about a human life. It’s not a different species,” she added.

She spoke about Margaret Sanger, founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and said that her target audience included young women, poor women and women of color.

Fortunato quoted Sanger as saying, “All of our problems are a result of over-breeding of the working class.” “Although she might not have been a eugenicist, she definitely had eugenicist friends,” Fortunato said.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Web site explains Sanger differently.

“Margaret Sanger was not a racist, an anti-Semite, or a eugenicist,” according to the Web site.

Fortunato also spoke about the need to make the act of carrying a child to term more socially and economically acceptable.

“We need to make it a positive thing for women to have their children,” Fortunato said.

Fortunato also discussed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, saying that the group has made financial gains from abortions.

“They are a non-profit [organization], but they made $660 million in revenue — about one-fourth of it from abortions,” Fortunato said.

“They are clearly a special interest. They are clearly a business,” she added.

Fortunato tried to end on a positive note, speaking about the importance of what her group does. She also described how the organization affects those it targets.

“We do no small thing in protecting the smallest in our society,” Fortunato said.

Both Johnson and Fortunato faced questions about the specific views of their respective organizations.

When asked about Beautiful Choice’s views on sex education in school, Johnson stressed that the organization is extremely new, and that the club will be decide such things in the future.

“We haven’t gotten that far, since we just started. It’s something we would consider in the future,” Johnson said.

Sarah Zangle, a sophomore at Pitt and vice president of Beautiful Choice, explained the various options that are open to women who decide to carry their pregnancies to term.

“Adoptions are always a choice, if you decide to do that. There are resources out there and people who will help.” Zangle said.

Fortunato answered questions about the graduate anti-abortion group, Do Not Harm, and their views on programs to help the mother and child after the birth.

“I think that all social services that people need to have their babies, we support,” said Fortunato, mentioning “care centers” that provide housing, pre-natal care, clothing and toys.

“There are more care centers in the United States than there are Planned Parenthood clinics,” Fortunato said.

Fortunato explained that sex education in school is only effective when done properly. She described proper sex education programs as those that encourage abstinence, instead of contraceptive methods.

“I think we send teens the wrong message when we send a mixed message of sexuality. The most consistent message [to] teens is one of abstinence,” Fortunato said,

When asked about the future goals of the group Beautiful Choice, Johnson described a local focus.

“For now, we just want to make a difference on campus and around the city of Pittsburgh,” Johnson said.

“We will take on the world later.”