Cornell students protest pro-life views as 'traumatizing'

Neetu Chandak
New York Campus Correspondent

  • Pro-abortion students protested a debate on abortion last week, complaining that the inclusion of pro-life views “normalized the idea that it is okay to control people’s bodies.”
  • The protest was organized by the Planned Parenthood Generation Action student group, and received support from the Cornell University Democrats.
  • Protesters pose for a photo outside the abortion debate at Cornell.

    A pro-abortion student group protested a debate Thursday at Cornell University, complaining that including pro-life views “normalized the idea that it is okay to control people’s bodies.”

    Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA) protested the November 16 debate, which featured pro-choice Ithaca College professor Jonathan Peeters and pro-life Blackstone Legal Fellowship faculty member Stephanie Gray.

    "We like to focus our energy on community education and community building and creating safe spaces."   

    [RELATED: Pro-life group hidden by abortion advocates at social justice fair]

    The debate boasted a host of co-sponsoring organizations, including College Republicans from Cornell University and Ithaca College; Debate in Science and Health: Cornell; Ithaca College Feminists United; Ithaca College Students for Life; No Labels at Cornell University; and Veritas Forum at Cornell.

    Before the event even began, however, it became the subject of controversy when the Cornell University Democrats supported calls for protest from PPGA.

    “The point of this protest is not confrontation, but to be a strong presence for reproductive rights,” according to the Facebook event page for the protest, which also noted that the debate “may be a traumatizing event for many people to hear their rights and bodily autonomy being questioned and judged.”

    Protesters were encouraged to wear pink and pro-choice items throughout the day, while sharing their appreciation for Planned Parenton on social media with #ISTANDWITHPP.

    PPGA Cornell chapter leader Zoe Maisel told Campus Reform that the protest was intended to provide more exposure to Planned Parenthood and its services.

    [RELATED: Pro-choice group says pro-lifers ‘provoke pain and stigma’]

    Though PPGA did not stop anyone from attending or speaking, Maisel believed that the debate did not provide constructive dialogue.

    “We like to focus our energy on community education and community building and creating safe spaces,” she explained. “That isn’t necessarily what is happening in tonight’s debate so we want to create a space where we focus our energy, not on debating, but creating a welcoming space to learn.”

    Campus Reform reached out to the Cornell Democrats for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow Campus Reform on Twitter: @CampusReform





    Neetu Chandak

    Neetu Chandak

    New York Campus Correspondent

    Neetu is a New York Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse on her campus and around the state for Campus Reform. Neetu is a Communications major at Cornell University, where she works with Network for Enlightened Women.

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