Sheba Austin ‘22, Ashley Cunningham ‘22, Nick Hale ‘23, Zoé Petit ‘22, & Sofia Smithson ‘23
Respectful. Leaders. Passionate. Teachers. Learners. These are words that are often used to describe Holy Cross Students. In the College’s Mission Statement, it states that we strive to be patient with uncertainty, we must find meaning in life and history, and most importantly, the “College should lead all its members to make the best of their own talents, to work together, to be sensitive to one another, to serve others, and to seek justice within and beyond the Holy Cross community,” (College of the Holy Cross, 2021). Students at Holy Cross are called to be men and women for others and we are also a Cathloic institution, meaning that we value the call to family and community, solidarity, the preferential option for the poor and the life and dignity of the human person (Catholic Social Teaching, 2017). We are an intellectual and intersectional institution and at times our values may clash. One an example of this clash is the topic of abortion. Commonly, people turn away when the topic of abortion is brought up, but as Holy Cross students, we are called to be respecful of others views. We must talk about it. We must hear each other out.
Right now, The Supreme Court is discussing the original decision of Roe. V. Wade. The Texas Abortion Ban, The Heart Beat Act, which bans abortions in the state of Texas when a fetal heartbeat is detected, has brought this topic back to the Supreme court (Sakay & Ries, 2021). The constitutional right to privacy comes from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which does not explicitly state that Americans have a right to privacy (Temme, 2021). In Roe v. Wade, the Court decided that this right to privacy extends to a woman’s control over a pregnancy (Temme, 2021). The court is now trying to determine if this still holds true. The red states in the map below are states that are likely to enforce a 15 week, 20 week, or total ban of abortion if the the Supreme Court overturns the original decision in Roe.v Wade. States with nearby clinics that will most likely be overwhelmed are in blue. In Louisiana, the average driving distance to access an abortion would be 630 miles if the abortion ban is passed in the Supreme court. The community of Holy Cross comes from all over the U.S. and all over the world, and you may live in one of these states. Those of us at the College who are Catholic may feel that abortion goes against our values. However, we are asking you to consider if enforcing abortion after detection aligns with being a person for and with others. Our research has indicated that abortion laws like The Heart Beat Act, place an undue burden on people. We believe that placing this burden on others goes against being a person for others.
We must ask ourselves why people are getting abortions. “59% of women obtaining abortions are mothers, 60% of abortions are obtained by women in their twenties, and 49% of abortion patients live below the federal poverty level”, (Cross et al, 2021). They are women of our age who are living below the poverty line in most cases. As men and women for others, should we not support those who are struggling in poverty? As Holy Cross students, we must question what is most important to us. Our Catholic roots are important, but what do we do when our catholic values prevent us from acting on our other Holy Cross values? These are not easy questions, but we need to be aware of what our duty is to this issue. It could be hard to choose between the two values, but it all comes down to which values you think will best help you answer these questions. Keep in mind that there are already patients who are facing other overlapping systems of oppression, “Black patients accounted for 28% of abortion patients, Hispanic patients for 25%, White patients for 39%, and patients of other races and ethnicities accounted for 9%”, (Cross et al, 2021). These women are also facing structural racism that is amplified by every logistical hurdle. As Holy Cross Students, should we not help those who face such hurdles?