Choice or Life

FAU students and presidential candidates chime in on the ever pressing topic of abortion.


Illustration by Ivan Benavides

Stephanie Fonseca, Contributing Writer

As a little girl, Britney always knew that when she grew up she would become a doctor.

Halfway through eighth grade, she knew that something was different about her body, but she kept it to herself. Her mother also noticed a difference, and one day Britney let her mom in on the secret — she was pregnant at the age of 14. Her mother, knowing that her daughter was a minor, made the decision for Britney to get an abortion.

“My mom knew that I wanted to be a doctor and she didn’t want my mistake to keep me from my ultimate goal in life,” said Britney, a junior who requested her real name not be used.

Britney is one of the 6.4 percent of teenage girls in the United States who had an abortion before the age of 17, according to the Guttmacher Institute— a non-profit organization focusing on reproductive health. With the 6.4 percent accounting for about 67,840 abortions a year and attacks on abortion clinics continuing, candidates for president and lawmakers running for election have put the abortion issue back into the spotlight.

As the presidential primaries approach, many candidates have placed the issue at the top of their list, with some indicating that they would like to see the overturn of Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortions legal — or at least a suspension of all government funding for abortion.

On the Republican side, the two candidates who have been at the forefront of the race, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, are both against abortion.

“I think that women’s health is an absolutely central campaign issue,” said Jane Caputi, a Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies professor at FAU. But she also stressed that abortion is part of a complex set of issues: women having reproductive justice and complete autonomy regarding their bodies.

The topic of women’s health, in particular the matter of abortion, has brought up a lot of controversy between Democrats and Republicans.

Although Trump wavered on his stance in the past, he recently came out and addressed his views. In an interview with David Brody for CBN, Trump said  he was anti-abortion and even acknowledged his past stance when he was pro-abortion rights.

When asked “why the switch?” Trump told a story of one of his friends who found out that his wife was pregnant, however he did not want the child. Nevertheless they went ahead and had the child, and the child became the apple of their eye.

“These stories changed my view as to that, absolutely,” Trump said. He then clarified that he is against abortion except for in certain cases, such as rape, incest or in situations where the mother’s life is at risk.

His opponent on the Republican side, Ben Carson, tackles the issue with a more ideological perspective. In his closing statement at the Republican debate in early November 2015, Carson rattled off stats of what occurred during the airtime of the debate.

“There have been 200 babies killed at the hand of abortionists,” Carson said. “And this is a narrative that we can change. Not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America.”

Carson, a former neurosurgeon, stands firm in his belief that human life begins at conception — when the egg and sperm join — and that abortion at any moment after conception is unacceptable.

Carson has also been a supporter of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. If passed, the act would make it illegal to have an abortion more than 20 weeks after fertilization, with exceptions for rape, incest or risk of the mother’s life.

In an interview with the Washington Times, Carson reiterated how his entire professional life was devoted to helping and enhancing life, and that aborting an unborn child for the reason of convenience repulses him.

Gabriela Heizer, a sophomore studying international business, said that the candidates’ stances on abortion are relevant to many young women — including women like her, who think it’s immoral. “I love Carson’s stance and agree with Trump,” Heizer said.

“I just think having an abortion due to convenience isn’t valid,” Heizer said. “So if they, the people of the United States, personally choose to kill babies I just want to make sure that I’m not the one financing it through taxes.”

The front runners on the Democratic side beg to differ. Hillary Clinton presented that although Democrats and Republicans hold different views on the subject of abortion, she believes that common ground should be found between the two stances, despite her view on making abortion legal in all circumstances. Clinton argues that abortion should be a woman’s right to choose and should have nothing to do with the government.

Clinton’s rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has stood behind the pro-abortion rights camp his whole life and when it comes to the topic of abortion, he believes it’s a women’s rights issue.

The national debate over abortion played out at campuses across the country, including FAU. Salomon Duran, youth pastor at Unfamous Boca, a church youth group, believes the different stances people have on abortion throw a spotlight on the “brokenness of our world today.”

Duran elaborates: “The people that say abortion should be legal can only say it because they are alive today, and were not aborted by their mother. They speak only because they have breath to speak with, and I’m not sure they think about that when someone asks them about abortion.”

Britney believes there shouldn’t be a law preventing abortions altogether, but she does believe that there should be a law restricting the number of abortions a woman has, along with the mother’s circumstances. Furthermore, she believes women who have multiple abortions in a short time span are acting irresponsibly.

“We as a country cannot force a woman to have a child she is not prepared to take care of, but it is also the woman’s responsibility to take the proper precautions to prevent becoming pregnant if she is not ready to be a mother.”