On Thursday January 24, as I do most Thursdays, I picked up a copy of the most recent edition of the Northerner. Tucked inside each paper last week was an additional insert that normally does not come with the paper, containing a 1950’s style women on the front, voicing that life is full of surprises.
As a campus nurse I became shocked and surprised to find that this colorful insert, which claimed to be an “Advertising Supplement,” was in fact full with erroneous anti-abortion propaganda. I immediately went to The Northerner’s office to post a complaint.
I was met by two editors, who were unaware of the insert, and I was given a First Amendment lecture. I was told that the insert was paid advertising and not supported by the Northerner. It was solely a money making endeavor.
One of my complaints, and there are many, is that nowhere in The Northerner is there a disclaimer stating that the paper does not support the given information that the insert provided.
A student not seeing a disclaimer may make the connection that the paper and thus the University supports anti-abortion propaganda.
Another complaint is that this insert was not checked for accuracy. This was not an ad to sell a product; this insert is meant to educate and inform the reader.
Unfortunately, the information is grossly inaccurate. I feel that if The Northerner is going to disseminate this material they should have checked and possibly rechecked that the information that they provided through this distribution for accuracy and truthfulness.
I thought that it is the claimed goal of the journalism community, and the information business as a whole, to report the facts.
While we are all aware that advertisements lie each and every day, we should not accept false information about a serious issue like abortion. We are not being persuaded to purchase a car or buy a Happy Meal; we are being asked to make an educated and well thought out decision involving life and death, accuracy should be at least the bear minimum of requirements.
Some of the points that need clarifying are:
1) Abortion causes Breast Cancer. THIS IS NOT TRUE. There have been studies attempting to link the two but the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society have found flaws in these studies. There has been no reliable study to confirm this statement, and should not be present a fact.
2) The implication that “back-alley” abortions were safe because only 39 women died in 1972 from an apparent botched abortion. Since abortions were illegal in 1972 there is no accurate data supporting this small number.
We do know that since it was an illegal procedure and not done in a safe environment by well-trained health providers as it is today, it was extremely dangerous to the women involved.
This pamphlet surely came off to all that read it as completely pro-life.
However, all sides to arguments should be included in any discussion in order to fully appreciate the problem at hand. Aborting a life is a personal decision and we should be more concerned with preventing the situation through education about abstinence, and birth-control information and products than putting down those who have them.
For sex, like abortion, is a personal decision and we cannot make it for anybody. We can simply hope and pray that people make the right decisions concerning their own lives.
I don’t think that many would argue that the best way to do this is through a proper and truthful education of all aspects of the matter.
If you have any question about a health issue please feel free to stop in the Student Health Office in UC 300 or call 572-5650.
We will make every attempt to help you find the most accurate information and help you determine what is best for you and your life.