The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) club hosted speaker Lila Rose, a pro-life activist, in Roski’s Dining Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The event, titled “Planned Parenthood Exposed,” centered around abortion.
“This is the greatest human rights issue facing our country today,” said Rose in the introduction of her speech. Following a thank you to YAF and to LMU for hosting her, Rose went into arguments against abortion.
Rose said that when she was 18, she went undercover as an underage sexual assault victim to Planned Parenthood to see how they would react. Since then, she has amassed a large following as founder and president of Live Action, a media outlet that reports on stories surrounding abortion that “the mainstream media often refuses to cover,” according to their website.
During her speech, Rose addressed some of the opposing views in favor of abortion — like in cases of rape that lead to pregnancy. Rose responded to this argument asking whether “the child deserve[s] the death penalty for the crimes of their father.”
Rose stated that she agrees with the pro-choice argument of "my body my choice" to a certain extent.
“This is my body and I can make decisions about my body, but I can’t use my body to harm someone else’s body,” said Rose.
According to the Live Action website, in addition to abortion, Rose’s activism centers around “inspiring a culture that respects all human life.” When asked if she considered her activism feminist work, Rose answered that by modern feminist standards, it is not. She stated that the original feminists were “almost all pro-life,” and that they argued that abortion is violence against women and children.
“Today’s feminism is in some ways totally detached from original feminism because it’s arguing for the very thing that some of the original feminists fought against. It's arguing for abortion as somehow empowerment, it’s arguing for the killing of our children,” said Rose. “I’m really disgusted by modern feminism and what it's done to distort the original feminist vision.”
The audience consisted of students on both sides of the issue. Mikaela Adams, a freshman management major, said that she attended because every living being has a dignity of life that needs to be upheld.
“Imagine if you were on the other end of something horrible, like abortion,” said Adams. “It’s really hard to stand up for people who don’t have a voice.”
After Rose concluded her talk, she opened the floor to questions from the audience. The pro-life speaker encouraged the pro-choice members of the audience to come forward and engage in dialogue.
One such member of the audience, Brion Dennis, a sophomore finance major, took the floor to ask Rose how the two sides, both pro-life and pro-choice, were to find common ground when both were misrepresenting facts to support their own argument.
Rose stated that the two could attempt to find common ground right then. She began by asking Dennis if they could agree that all humans deserve human rights, to which Dennis agreed. As the conversation continued, Dennis argued that the embryo in the womb, though it would eventually become human, was not yet human and instead a “clump of cells.”
“Are they human cells? Do they have human parents? So you’re saying that in the womb there is a clump of cells with human parents but they are not human,” said Rose. “So are they cat [cells]?”
Dennis stated that the dialogue had “eventually ... turned into this back and forth of her asking me questions that ... I can’t answer because I am not a scientist.”
Rose and Dennis moved on from the logistics of pregnancy to disputing a quote Rose had used in her speech from Margaret Sanger — the birth control activist who founded Planned Parenthood.
During this discussion, another member of the audience in the front row turned and shouted at the pro-choice sophomore.
“A girl who was in the audience decided to scream at me about a point that I was correct on about ... how there is a quote from Margaret Sanger that was misquoted [in Rose’s speech] and she yelled at me about how it’s actually real [that] Sanger wanted to kill black children,” said Dennis.
When asked to verify if the person who engaged with Rose and Dennis was an LMU student, YAF offered no comment.
“Even though I had a bad experience with a person who was there and I didn’t feel like my question was answered, I think it is still important to go to these events,” said Dennis. “At the end of the day, we need to try to understand each other as much as possible.”