Student proposes not funding abortions with student fees...and faces brutal backlash
A University of Chicago college council officer proposed Tuesday a student government bill that would limit the use of student funds to pay for abortions.
Class representative Brett Barbin, who proposed the bill, told Campus Reform that the money for abortions comes out of an “Emergency Fund,” a fund from which he says money for parking fees and bail is also taken.
“Abortions are a good thing!” posted University of Chicago student, student government president-elect, and Emergency Fund representative Jahne Brown. “The Emergency Fund supports and funds abortions proudly! If you need help paying for an abortion, we are here for you!”
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Barbin, who is also the outgoing College Republicans president, subsequently drafted a bill for the UChicago college council. The bill proposed that the Emergency Fund not use student money to fund abortions, as not all students feel it is morally right, according to The Chicago Maroon.
The bill failed to pass by a 1-15 vote margin, with Barbin being the sole representative to cast a vote in favor.
Barbin explained that many of the students opposing the bill brought signs in protest. Their signs bore messages such as “F*** off Bratt [sic],” “My body, my choice,” “Do you hate poor students that much,” and “access to abortion saves lives."
“Six concerned students presented testimony to a largely unreceptive room of 100 students that made clear their sincerely-held moral belief that abortion is murder,” Barbin told Campus Reform. “They were laughed and yelled at but they persisted to read their written statements aloud for the entire room. It was as clear to me in their earlier messages as I hope it became to some in the room that they had legitimate concerns with being forced to pay for abortions.”
The class representative also explained that the Emergency Fund and abortion procedures on campus have enough support that taking student tuition money is unnecessary.
"The campus discussion surrounding this legislation prompted many students to donate to the Emergency Fund, Chicago Abortion Fund, and Planned Parenthood (some in my name),” Barbin told Campus Reform. “Ironically, they only reaffirmed my argument that these funding bodies can operate independently of student government funding because so many other students passionately support an expansive understanding of abortion access.”
“So, at this point, why are we continuing to subsidize a practice which many students on campus consider a violation of their conscience?”
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Students also brought wire hangers and cheered when a member of the Emergency Fund said “abortions are amazing” and other pro-abortion quotes, Barbin told Campus Reform. At least one sign, featured in the Chicago Maroon, contained a drawing of a clothes hanger.
“We do fund abortions, and we will always fund abortions,” Brown stated, according to The Chicago Maroon. The Emergency Fund declined to comment to Campus Reform.
One apparent student suggested defunding the College Republicans in a tweet that garnered a few dozen “likes.” UChicago student Miles Grogger posted a similar message:
Barbin, who is the outgoing President of College Republicans at the University said he was not acting as the president when proposing the bill.
Other reactions included “I wish someone had aborted b***t b****n” and “what the fuck is a Brett Barbin?”
Barbin said it is important to note that his bill does not ban abortions on campus, as it seems many believe. The bill instead sought to put an end to students’ tuition being used for abortions as not all students believe in abortion.
[RELATED: Berkeley law dean: Alabama abortion ban ‘clearly unconstitutional’]
“It should be made clear: my bill was not a campus abortion ban in the vein of recent legislation in Alabama, Georgia, and other states,” Barbin said. “Regardless of whether or not my bill passed, abortions would continue to be provided on campus at the Medical Center. Instead, my bill sought to partially remove Student Government’s subsidy (which, again has yet to be used) for these procedures.”
UChicago did not return a request for comment in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BrittanySlaugh5