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Pro-life, pro-choice, pro-Stanford Students for Life

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To the editor:

Monday’s letter to the editor denounced what the author felt was an attempt “to shame and demean women” and posed the question, “How can the Students for Life behave like this? How can they justify shaming women like this?”

The author’s “vivid anger” was in reaction to last week’s annual memorial by the group, Stanford Students for Life (SSFL). During the memorial, the group placed hundreds of white markers topped with white roses into the grassy area of White Plaza. Each marker represented the growing number of children aborted since the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The group also had members stand at a table to take questions from students who wanted to discuss the issue. The group did not have megaphones or approach passers-by.

Across from Stanford Students for Life, a few pro-choice students set up a number of red paper hearts and cardboard signs and explained their side of the issue. Both demonstrations remained relatively silent and peaceful, and White Plaza was remarkably quiet and calm.

Unfortunately, some have misrepresented the intent of this memorial, which many would call a calm and quiet approach to a heated and polarizing issue. As anyone who actually spoke with the students could attest, Stanford Students for Life is a group dedicated not to shaming women, but to supporting and affirming the value all human life. Those outraged at SSFL seem irked less by the group’s alleged “need, in the middle of campus, to shame and demean the women for their choices,” and more by the group’s nerve in advocating for a perspective different than their own.

Most troubling is the author’s call for the student body “to make Students for Life as uncomfortable as they make the people of this University.” Actually, we need more of what happened at the demonstrations last week — students of all perspectives meeting publicly and politely to share their message with members of the community. What we do not need is misinformation about individuals and groups for simply advocating their own particular point of view on a difficult issue.

As disheartening as it is that this type of misunderstanding and unfounded written attack occurred, I am comforted by the open and free flow of ideas witnessed last week. I believe the ability of groups that are as disparate as the pro-life and pro-choice movements to respectfully disagree is a testament to the inherent goodness of humankind, and to the worth and purpose of each and every one of us.

Brooks Hamby ‘18

Contact Brooks Hamby at jbhamby ‘at’ stanford.edu.