I seem to have become an activist of sorts on campus this semester. Or maybe campus life and the prevailing attidudes of most students in general disgust me so much that I can't stand by and watch any longer without having my say. To that end, I've written two letters to the editor of my school paper so far this semester. Since I believe that they both make important points that extend beyond Bradley's campus, I've also decided to include them here for public enjoyment. :)
October 9, 1998
Each day, going into Bradley Hall or Olin Hall, I am enveloped in a cloud of nauseating smoke emanating from groups of smokers lighting up before class. During the middle of the day, the groups become so large that the fumes are almost overwhelming; I find myself holding my breath until I can escape into the buildings and gasp a breath of "fresh" air.
I find it frustrating that I, a non-smoking, health-conscious student, should be forced to suffocate trying to avoid clouds of toxic fumes each time I go to class. Smokers have the right to do what they wish with their health, but non-smokers also have the right to walk to classes without endangering their health. It would take very little effort for the smokers to move farther away from the doors, perhaps onto the grass just in front of most entrances. This would enable non-smokers to breathe and relieve tension between smokers and non-smokers on campus. A little effort goes a long way-thanks!
November 6, 1998
I feel that I must address the faulty logic presented in Kellie Weiss's article regarding the "morning-after" pill (more correctly known as RU 486) in the October 23 edition of the Scout. Statements like Ms. Weiss's assertion that this pill is a "safe alternative" to abortion conceal the fact that this pill merely kills the unborn baby sooner than is possible in a tradition surgical abortion.
Contrary to what is stated in the article, life does not begin when the heart starts to beat. Likewise, life does not necessarily end at the moment the heart stops beating-if that were so, CPR would be pointless, and a person would die the instant the heart missed its first beat. Hence, the function of the heart cannot be a sound basis for determining when a life begins.
Every year, medical science finds new ways to allow even younger premature babies to survive. Unwanted aborted babies are considered inanimate lumps of flesh in a woman's stomach, while medical teams work desperately-and often successfully-to save preemies of the same age who are wanted by their parents. Who then is to draw the line and decide when an unborn child is no longer a candidate for abortion (or, as this article states, an object of "emergency contraception") and instead is a legitimate baby? The logical answer, of course, is that the baby is endowed with life at the moment that a sperm cell penetrates the membrane of the egg cell. At that point, the baby is provided with the 46 chromosomes that will determine all of his or her personal characteristics; after that, nothing more is added to the fetus but oxygen and nutrients. RU 486 halts this supply of nutrients by blocking important nutrient receptors on the fertilized cell's membrane. Without these nutrients, the child starves and is swept out of the woman's uterine tract.
Therefore, the morning-after pill is not another form of birth control, nor is it a "pro-life way to take control of a woman's situation." Rather, it provides a "convenient" way to snuff out the life of a child conceived by thoughtless and irresponsible parents. RU 486 is not the answer to America's problem of rampant unwanted pregnancies and single parents; instead, men and women need to realize the serious consequences of pre-marital sex. A baby should not have to give his or her life because the parents are unwilling to deal with the result of their actions.