‘Abortion rights are not something that are up for debate’
Pro-abortion protesters organized by the Tufts University chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action had the police called on them for disrupting the bipartisan talk “Is Abortion Morally Justified in America?”
The September 29 “pro-life and pro-choice” discussion, hosted by the Tufts Federalist Society, featured Boston College philosophy professor Gregory Fried and Harvard Law’s Stephen Sachs.
According to The Tufts Daily, protesters took over the venue’s front-row seats with one student holding a placard reading “I [Heart] Abortions” (pictured) and another a noisemaker which “played continuous sounds of cars honking, dogs barking, doorbells ringing, wolves howling and crowds booing.”
As noise from the machine made it “difficult” to hear the speakers for the first twenty minutes of the event, the campus police were called in. The protester with the noisemaker kept at it until more than one officer was present.
Protester Sanya Desai made the debate topic a racial one, saying white men should have no say in decisions relating to her “reproductive rights.”
“[A]bortion rights are not something that are up for debate, or not something that should be talked about in a devil’s advocate type [of] way,” Desai said.
Desai and others expressed “disappointment” that Tufts allowed a forum “which questioned the moral validity of abortion.” Protester Calli Recck said “I think it’s just important to show as a community that this is not something that we stand for.”
One FedSoc member, James Kasparyan, who told the Daily he is pro-choice, suspected the protestors might have mischaracterized the group’s intentions.
“It’s really a discussion about [abortion rights] in general and to hear both sides,” Kasparyan said. “We expect them to come from varying positions and we hope that they at least either hear something they haven’t thought about before, or their own ideas are reinforced in some way.” Kasparyan said.
When introducing his views, Fried acknowledged the controversy and spoke about his qualifications to discuss abortion morality.
“I am an American citizen, and I do vote. And I believe that we all have to weigh in on decisive and divisive questions in this country,” Fried said.
[Sachs said] “It’s a great disservice to prevent others from taking part in that even in the course of hearing two other people debate. I don’t think it matters whether the two of us are both men. I don’t think it matters whether the two of us are both white.”
FedSoc Co-President João Ribeiro also noted his organization reached out to “over 20 women from across the state in different levels of academia” regarding the event, but none were available to attend.
IMAGE: The Tufts Daily/X