By Erin Moyer || Senior Editor
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMCA) hosted an Intercultural Dialogue about Planned Parenthood. The discussion was part of OMCA’s weekly dialogue series over every Tuesday’s “Uncommon Hour.” Roughly a dozen people, a mixture of students and faculty, attended the event. Ceci Plaza ’17, OMCA’s intern, planned and moderated the discussion.
“The Intercultural Dialogues on Tuesdays are geared toward creating a safe space for students to talk about and share ideas concerning important events,” Plaza said. “Our topics reflect issues that students care about and that are current and present in the media. By facilitating these discussions, we’re trying to get students to hear others’ perspectives and develop an environment on campus where we can all talk to and collaborate with each other while still understanding and remaining respectful of ideas that are different from our own.”
Plaza said that OMCA decided to have a discussion about Planned Parenthood after the organization came to campus as part of its #StandwithPlannedParenthood campaign. “Many students were expressing their views on social media about the video that started the controversy, the hearing with Cecile Richards, and the presence of PP in the GOP debates,” Plaza said. “Given that we have an upcoming election, this is an especially hot topic, and if the students are already buzzing, we felt we should facilitate a discussion about why it’s important to talk about [Planned Parenthood], no matter your stance on the issue.”
The discussion encompassed many facets of the current debate surrounding Planned Parenthood. The conversation began with a discussion of where federal funding specifically goes within Planned Parenthood, and how much, or how little, of the organization is actually focused on abortion. A member of the discussion pointed out that, although Planned Parenthood performs one-third of the nation’s abortions, that figure may be the result of legislative success to eliminate other abortion providers.
Discussion then moved onto “the video,” or more specifically, the Center for Medical Progress’ viral series of “undercover” videos that attempt to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood “profits” off its abortion services by selling fetal tissue.
How much the videos might have been edited was discussed. Several in attendance mentioned that several courts and states have deemed the videos too heavily edited to be deemed accurate. The discussion then concluded with some meditation on what the objections to Planned Parenthood are, and who or what organizations most actively lead the charge against it.
Plaza felt that Tuesday’s discussion went well.
“It was well-attended and everyone seemed comfortable enough to share their views,” Plaza said. “Not everyone had the same opinions on the matter, so it made for a dynamic discussion and it was useful to talk it out and understand that the [Planned Parenthood] issue really is a symbol for a larger controversy about women’s healthcare. I hope that everyone who was at the discussion continues the conversation on campus.”
This Tuesday, Plaza said, OMCA’s weekly dialogue will focus on politically incorrect, or insensitive, Halloween costumes. The discussions run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday, and all are welcome to attend.
Senior Erin Moyer is the Senior Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.