Students respond to Mustangs for Life display on Dallas Hall Lawn

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Mustangs for Life placed a display of flower-covered wooden crosses on the Dallas Hall Lawn as a way to speak out against abortion.

The organization sent members out to stand near the “Memorial of Innocents” display to talk to students passing by.

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Blake Buckley, a junior and member of Mustangs for Life, noted that the organization considers the display a “memorial” for the mothers and fetuses affected by abortion.

“We are just as much concerned for the life of the mother as we are for the life of the child,” Buckley said.

Mustangs for Life and SMU Feminist Equality Movement will host a “Dialogue Not Debate” event on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss abortion-rights and anti-abortion perspectives. The event will be held in the Hughes-Trigg theatre.

Some students ignored the display, while others stopped, photographed and expressed their opinions to each other.

Twin siblings, Miles and Adeline Beattie, observed the display but did not speak with Buckley when approached for discussion. Both siblings said the display was distasteful and disturbing.

Mustangs For Life April 8-10, 2019.JPG

“There are girls here who have gotten abortions,” Sophomore Miles Beattie said. “It’s very off-putting to see this.”

The siblings, who grew up in St. Louis, said the presence of the display demonstrates SMU’s conservative, southern roots.

“It’s very in-your-face,” she said. “And it kinda demonstrates to me the idea that we’re at a, obviously, more southern school, and there’s kind of a general feeling here that the conservative movement is the right one.”

Buckley said, with his involvement with Mustangs for Life, he hopes to have a broader perspective on people involved in this issue.

“All people, regardless of stage of life, is [sic] infinitely valuable to the world,” he said.

Ellie Pietsch is vice president of Mustangs for Life.

“I’d encourage people who’re offended to come talk to us! We genuinely want to hear your questions and concerns; that’s why each year a few of us stand outside near the display and try to engage people in conversation about this topic,” Ellie Pietsch said. “You’ll probably discover that you have more in common with us than you thought. Many of us identify as feminists!”

You’ll probably discover that you have more in common with us than you thought. Many of us identify as feminists!

“It’s not our intention to offend or upset anyone,” Pietsch said. “We know it’s a very difficult topic, which is why our signs have contact information for organizations that provide support for mothers experiencing unplanned pregnancies and post-abortive women.”

Mustangs for Life and SMU Feminist Equality Movement will host a “Dialogue Not Debate” event on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss abortion-rights and anti-abortion perspectives. The event will be held in the Hughes-Trigg theatre.

“We should hold onto this shared goal, even as we may disagree about the specific strategies of reaching that goal.”

“FEM is excited to host Dialogue Not Debate with Mustangs for Life for the third year in a row, as a constructive response to their “Memorial of Innocents” display on Dallas Hall Lawn. We hope that our event will serve as a teachable moment for all attendees,” FEM president Lamisa Mustafa said.

“The goal of this event is to quell hostility and negative stereotyping between the two sides and come together to find common ground. In addition to sympathizing with one another, both sides intend to engage in an effort to further understand and investigate the claims of the other side,” Pietsch said. “This event began as a joint effort between leaders in Mustangs for Life and FEM a couple years ago. We intend for the dialogue to be an informative and enlightening experience for everyone who attends.”

“We hope that our event will serve as a teachable moment for all attendees.”

“We hope that our event will serve as a teachable moment for all attendees. While we certainly don’t expect people to drastically change their minds, we hope that this event will encourage people to consider opposing opinions and find some common ground. At the end of the day, both sides – Pro-Life and Pro-Choice – want to reduce the number of abortions. We should hold onto this shared goal, even as we may disagree about the specific strategies of reaching that goal,” Mustafa said.

The SMU Daily Campus is a partner of “Dialogue, Not Debate.”

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