On a diverse campus like SIUE, there are many topics of conversation that may be considered more taboo or hard-hitting topics. One of these topics is the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate that has been an ongoing conversation in this country.
Although SIUE does have a Students for Life organization, one student decided to take a stand for her beliefs and create an organization for the other side of the conversation.
Junior economics and finance major Mikaila Crawford, of Jerseyville, Illinois, posted in SIUE Facebook groups in early April asking if anyone would be interested in helping her start the group.
According to Crawford, less than two weeks after the post, the group has received a lot of feedback and already has eight members and an adviser, Professor of Philosophy Alison Reiheld.
“One of the main stances for creating this group is to basically provide students with a way to come together to show their support and respect for women. Also, taking a stand on campus to educate the school population on women’s choice and pro-choice, because currently, there is only a pro-life group on campus,” Crawford said.
Aside from educating students on women’s choice, Crawford said she also wants the group to have an emphasis on the importance of Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood provides so many services for patients who rely on public programs for healthcare — programs such as Medicaid and Title X. Defunding Planned Parenthood is something I don’t want to happen and I think people in this group don’t want to happen because it provides so much access to healthcare for those who may not be able to afford private insurance,” Crawford said.
According to Crawford, although the group will be having meetings with the time remaining in this semester, she expects more students to get involved and the organization to increase its membership more in the fall when she can reach freshmen and transfer students. Crawford also expects to plan more events starting in the fall as well.
It may be hard for some organizations to accept organizations with completely opposing views. However, according to junior pharmacy major and member of Students for Life Brittany Medlin, of Wilmington, Illinois, the group is open to future events such as a debate between both organizations, and members are glad that the topic has equal representation.
“They have just as much of a right to express their opinion as we do. We don’t agree with theirs, but it’s a good opportunity for us to keep the conversation going on campus and continue to have a discussion on such a hot topic,” Medlin said.
Both pro-life members and Crawford said they would be open to having discussions involving both organizations in the future.
“I think that having open discussions about matters that are kind of conflicting is very beneficial to everyone involved because, not only do you learn about the other side’s perspective, but you are also just getting your message across,” Crawford said.
Sophomore mass communications major Noel Hines, from O’Fallon, Illinois, is one student who is excited to see what the organizations will bring to campus.
“I’m excited for this group to be on campus because I think it’s important for both sides to be represented. It’s important for women to have access to programs like what Students for Women’s Choice represent and it is cool that everyone can gain some sort of knowledge from both of the organizations,” Hines said.
The group has not yet been approved by Student Government. However Crawford has her executive board and adviser together and will present the organization to student government soon. Until it is approved, the organization will work on setting up a Facebook page for members as well as getting registered on Get Involved.