The Chalk of the Town: Abortion tensions rise as restrictions tighten in the United States


Keaton Riebel

With recent changes in legislature regarding abortion rights, students on Winona State University’s campus have been voicing their support/distaste for the changes.

Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Recently, a South Carolina bill was proposed that would make abortions punishable by the death penalty.

“The South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act would ‘ensure that an unborn child who is a victim of homicide is afforded equal protection under the homicide laws of the state’. The bill would define a ‘person’ as an ‘unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization until birth’,” NBC News reported.

Along with this bill, Warriors for Life (an anti-abortion club on campus at Winona State University) chalked on campus sidewalks statements such as “love them both”, “social justice begins at the womb”, “abortion is fake feminism”, “LGBTQ+ rights start at conception” and “abortion is not healthcare.”

Wishing to remain anonymous, a Warriors for Life representative explained their last message, saying that based upon the Merriam Webster definition of healthcare, abortion is not included.

“Since we believe that life starts at conception, we do not believe that abortion is healthcare. We do not see how purposefully stopping a healthy heartbeat is “do no harm”. Whether people agree or disagree if a fetus has value, it is hard to argue that harm is not done to the fetus,” Warriors for Life said.

Jessica Weis, the president of the WSU Students for Reproductive Justice (a pro-choice club at Winona State club), talked about what she thought about this statement.

“I think there are more people than they know that have gotten an abortion. I imagined someone walking by the sidewalk and seeing something on the ground that discredited their own experience. Some people don’t have a choice. Like ectopic pregnancies, it’s the only way to save the person’s life,” Weis said.

Warriors for Life addressed the ectopic pregnancy topic, as it is a conversation that they have had frequently on whether it is considered an abortion or not.

“Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion. Every bill has allowed ectopic pregnancy treatment to continue. It is specifically mentioned in every bill. However, doctors that refuse to treat patients with ectopic pregnancies are typically engaging in malpractice and are not fully educated on their state’s abortion laws,” Warriors for Life elaborated.

States that have restrictions on abortion do not consider ectopic pregnancies abortion, which saves the life of the pregnant person.

“Texas laws banning abortions make narrow exceptions only to save the life of a pregnant patient or prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function.” And lawmakers in recent years have clarified state statutes to say treatments for miscarriages, known as “spontaneous abortions,” in medicine, and ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus and becomes unviable, do not count as abortions,” the Texas Tribune reported.

But these restrictions have caused confusion for complications with miscarriages, which do not lie under the ectopic pregnancy definition.

“But the lack of clarity accompanying the threat of jail time and six-figure fines for medical professionals has led some hospitals and doctors in the state to deny or delay care for pregnancy complications, according to multiple reports. Doctors and experts also worry that patients with pregnancy complications may be too afraid of being accused of inducing an abortion to seek care,” the Texas Tribune reported.

On Warriors for Life’s Facebook page, their banner reads “defending life from conception until natural death”, and when talking to an anonymous student from Warriors for Life, they explained their stance on this bill.

“We as a club do not take a stance on the death penalty, but we do take a stance on who legal action should be taken against. In instances where abortion is punishable by law, we believe all punishment should be to abortion providers and not to people who attempt to obtain the abortion,” Warriors for Life explains.

Madilyn Lavan, a fourth-year student majoring in sociology and legal studies spoke on her thoughts regarding this bill.

“I find South Carolina introducing the death penalty for abortion very ironic. It shows that those who are anti-choice, or say they’re “pro-life”, don’t really give a (expletive) about human life—This legislation isn’t about human life, it’s about controlling people’s bodies and who is and isn’t allowed to reproduce,” Lavan said.

Tyler Gliem, a fourth-year student majoring in mass communications: creative digital, media talked about how everyone has the right to voice their opinion, but he feels the restrictions have been extreme.

“Simply put we are creating a divide amongst both sides to the point where it is becoming more hateful, instead of productive. While I agree that abortion is healthcare and should be a basic human right, I will allow myself to at least hear someone out if they have a different opinion,” Gliem said.